woensdag 27 maart 2013

Quanto vale a tua alma?

Hello there,

I like the title, yesterday a guy gave me a fake dollar bill with this question "How much is worth your soul?".
'Do I want to participate to create a better world for tomorrow or just want to get rich today, not worrying about the future world of my chilren?'

Last week has been a very social engaged and activist week. Thanks to Luc Vankrunkelsven who I have been following for one week.

But first this: Do you know where the word "Brazil" comes from?

Het first import product from the Brazil region to Europe was 'Pau Brasil', a tree that was red inside and that was used in the European confection industry to color fabrics (= clothing) red. When the European colonists started to divide South-America in different countries, like we did later with Africa too (aren't we europeans pretentious bastards), we desided to call the country to it's most important export product.

So on saturday 16/03 I was going to meet Luc Vankrunkelsven on an organic food market in the parc Passeo Publico in Curitiba. Luc works for WERVEL in Brussels, an organisation working on an international (European) scale about a different and more ethical way of farming that's in harmonie with nature. Some years ago he worked for Fedraf-Sul in Brazil and since then every year he goes back to Brazil to talk about the eco-agricultural issue.

Marfil is a person who founded the organic market with some corganic farmers.
Marfil has a familie farm with also lot's of animals, but only produces for his family.
Ecovida is a ecolabel for farmers. Farmers work together in little cooperations, who are represented in a regional association that bring these groups together, which makes part of a bigger organisation (Ecovida).    

Marfil is organising one regional farmerscooperations, so he brings the products of different farmers together, he devides the products in packages of small amounts and gives them the label of there group 'Marfil' to sell the products. So we visited his farm (in Bocaiuva), the animals, pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, geese, ... This is grandfathers work. His daugther Amanda and some other people work togheter in the production, administration, makeing packages, going to the market,... Amanda also 'owns' the kitchen for making organic cookies, bread, cakes and other very good stuff. She's the cooking princes of the family. At marfil farm they have already lot's of visitors and sometimes some volunteers and they are constructing at the moment a new building with and industrial kichten and a room for organising meetings with farmers and for other activities, yoga workshops, a restaurant, ... There daugther Fernanda is now studying agro-ecologie.

Normally Luc should speak for the anarchists of Curitiba that day, but that was cancelled.

On monday back in Curitiba, a driver from the Curitiba University, Departement of agro-ecologia in Matinhos, is comming to pick us up to go and speak for the students. In the afternoon they interview Luc for the local university radio, in the evening Luc gives a presentation in the school, talking about his books (nl) (Brasilian version) and trying to have a debate with the students about the Brazilian agricultural forms, there pro's and contra's and there impact on international scales. And how to deal with agricultural question in the future in a world with more and more people living on the middle class standards (f.e.China 20% of the world population). So to produce enough food and animalfeed for growing cattle. Because more people wanting to eat more meat. For this production request we need 2 or 3 planets. And forget about the last rainforest on earth, because there wouldn't be now space for nature anymore.

You see, this is a big thing, worth to think about. We do need to change something.

Next day we have an other 'five minutes of faim' in a class of agricultural students.
It's really interesting to bring input from a person from outside of Brasil/Latin America to give people a more mundial view on the situation. Most of brazilians never left there region or country and they only know one language.

From Matinhos (eastcoast = Litoral) we leave to São Lorenço do Oeste (near Paraguay) for the congress of Fetraf-Sul/Cut (Federação dos Trabalhadores da Agricultura Familiar da Região Sul), the syndicate for farmers from family farms in the 3 southern states of Brazil Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná.

This syndicate represents the needs of the small farmers for the government.
Once every 4 years they organise a big congress to talk about the social/ economic situation of the farmers and about the future objectives. After every congress there are syndicale elections.

There are more than 800 farmers and syndicale members participating to the congress, less than last congress, where they gethered more than 2000 participants!
It first starts with an official opening of the congress, than there are lectures of the main members and the president of Fetraf, than some farmers have there word and answere to speaches. After the participants are devided to talk in 20 groups about different important toppics. Later every group brings out there answeres to the whole congress, and the happening closes with a conclusion experssed by the standing commitees.

For the congress I slept in the main polivalent hall on the floor together with the 800 farmers. Quiet and experience.
During the congress we participated to the lectures and tried to open a little book stand and try to open the discution with the farmers about organic farming, lot's of them are still traditional farmers using chemical fertilizers and lot's of 'agrotoxicos' toxic pesticides.

A participant of the congress takes us after the congress to the local radio 'Radio doze de Maio LTDA' and Luc goes live, talking about the congress, his books and the European campaigns of Wervel. After we are brought to Cre-Sol a cooperative bank that gives lending to small farmers. After we visit Cooperal (Centro de Commercialização de Produtos Agrícolas) a cooperation that sells products from local farmers, that sells farming equipment on a lower price and has a seeds databank. It organises the collection and storage of different types of original seeds which aren't genetic manipulated or containing agrotoxicos ( semente crioula = virgin seeds). And they organise the processing of organic milk of different small farms, Eco Lact.

On fryday 22 march we arrive to Florianopolis (= Floripa, capital of Santa Catarina), A beautiful city on an Island. We stay at Rogerio's and Elisiana's place two wonderful people who have there wooden dreamhouse with a marvelous view on the bay 'Lago da Conçepcão'. Elisiana is an ex-collegue of Luc.
 In Floripa Luc has a live interview on 'TV Floripa' and in the evening we stay at Marly Winckler's house. One of the main organisers/ pioneers of the vegetarian movement in Brazil. We meet a group of vegetarians to discuss the food issue.
The world needs every year more and more production of food.
1. In the same time 30% to 50% of all food produced gets waisted, on the farms, during transport, while processing in the factury, during distribution, in the foodstores and at home with the consumers.
2. More and more people eat more and more meat. With the food produced for feeding animals, you can feed 7 times more people than when you feed it to animals and eat the animal later.

One of the answeres, the canabis plant. Not the one who produces drugs. this plant can be an answere to our search for a daily equivalent of proteïns.

Luc get's filmed at the vegetarians meeting by 2 wemon making a documentary about vegetarianism.
We'll get the results once the documentary is produced.

The next day we pass at an organic market hall, Mercado São Jorge and we go back to Elisiana and Rogerio's place.
From then on we relaxed, enjoyed Elisiana's and Rogerio's coocking skill's, a 5 star restaurant, and enjoy the     Island. Elisiana learns me how to make 'tapioca', with maniokflour.

It's been a very interesting week for me. I met a lot of interesting people and I learned a lot. Thanks to Luc Vankrunkelsven for having this experience.


Cuanto vale a tua Alma?

Pau Brasil
Marfil's farm

The university departement of matinhos 
for agro-ecology and agricultura familiar

The congress of Fetraf-Sul
São Lorenço do Oeste
the dormitory

Luc at this stand

Dance performance of Local Gaucho culture at the congress

Interview at the local radio

Cre-Sol, a farmers bank

Cooperal, corporation for local farmers

Selling seed without agrotoxicos

The milkproducers corporation


Live on 'TV Floripa'

Meat the vegetarians

Organic super-marked, Mercado São Jorge

Luc, de oprichtster v/d Mercado São Jorge en Marly Winckler

view from the balcony of Rogerio's and Elisiana's house

Luc, Elisiana and Rogerio

A little walk for 2 hours to a fishermensvillage,
the only accesways are by foot or by boat.

Elisiana learned me how to make 'tapioca'!

vrijdag 15 maart 2013

Europe in Brazil

Hello my friends,

I'm writing you now from Curitiba in the state of Paraná, underneath São Paulo.
Since last time I did write you I travelled a long way.

Tuesday the 7th of March I arrived from Bonito to Foz Do Iguaçu, the Brazilian city next to the border to Argentina and Paraguay. The Iguaçu waterfall's are right in the middle.
So I went one day to Argentina to see the waterfall's. At the Argentinian side you see the fall's from above and from the Brazilian side you see the giant fall's from underneath. We where very lucky because the day before it has been raining really hard so the fall's had swolen to his maximum. At night we went eating in a "churrascaria" that's a typical Brazilian meat restaurant. You pay a set price and you can eat as much as your body can bare. Brazilians eat tons of meat. Well it's nice to experience once. But it's really decadent. I don't want to know how much meat there trowing away every day.

My camara died some days before so I decided to go with Sandra a scotish girl from my hostel to go shopping in Paraguay. You can take a local bus in Foz Do Iguaçu that take you over the border to 'Ciudad del Este' the "tax free" shopping paradise in Latin-America. When products in Brazil are more expensive than in general in Europe, in Paraguay with a bit of luck you can find them much cheeper. So the whole of South-America sees Paraguay as 'o paraiso das compras'. The sell everything, electronic's
But it's really not a nice place to stay, big trafficjams, the streets are full of little markets selling a lot of stuff really cheep and bad quality and fake brands. And one shoppingmall after an other selling lot's of electronics, clothing, shoes, musical instruments, toys, games, dvd's, music, etc.
The United States of America use Latin-America ass there playground. So big multinationals are taking over the place. Coca-Cola is everywhere. They even have shoes from Coca-Cola. And you can see in Brazil that people apreciate north-american products and fast food. Lot's of Brazilian food is very fat, they eat lot's of grace, salt and sugar. I saw lot's of Brazilian people that could survive a cold winter without food...
But apart from that Brazilian food can be very tasty and divers. And lot's and lot's of exotic fruits, hmmm.

In the evening I left for Curitiba the capital city of the of Paraná.
Curitiba is a very European city, the buildings. clean streets, the public life and transport well organised. In the city centre you see almost only quite rich white people, although there are lot's of collored and pour people. Unfortunately also in Brazil most of the richer people are white and the pour people are collored or black. This is the same fenomenon I sow some years ago in South-Africa and Namibia. It's still very difficult or sometimes inpossible to clime the social ladder for pour people and some groups of the population.
Maybe you don't see it immediately, but also in Brazil there is still a lot of (hidden) rascism.
Curitiba is aslo the coldest statal capital city of Brazil. I don't feal very much in Brazil when i'm walking the streets here.
Curitiba means 'place with lot's of pinethrees' in the native Guarani language. The native people lived in the mountains and used to come to the planes of Curitiba every winter to live from a specific type of pinetrees, Araucária, that grow a lot in this region and carry fruits in wintertime rich of proteïns. Here in the South of Brasil (and Argentina) are lot's German and Italian imigrants that's flyed there country after the World War II. There are also lot's of Polish, Ucranian and Japanese immigrants.

Brazil is one of the possible new upcomming economic world leaders together with India and China, they are  producing for the whole world and are starting to colonize parts of Africa to encrise there production even more. And they are losing there borders for European immigrants that want to escape the crisis and come to Brazil. The same thing Europe is already doing for decades.

Curitiba carries the name of 'the ecological city' of Brazil. It's a big example with his dozens of parks and natural reseves. It's also the first city that started recycling garbage in Brazil. Brazil is learning very slowly, but it still has a long way to go in terms of recycling and re-using materials.

From Curitiba I took a tourist train throu the 'Mata Atlantica', Atlantic rainforest, to arrive in Morretes a really small and old town. From there I travel on to Paranagua, the second biggest harbor of Brazil. Santos in São Paulo is the biggest one. The train tracks (Curitiba - Paranagua) where build and are still used for transporting corn, soy, cars and electronic's from and to the Paranagua harbor.

From Paranagua a boat brings me to Ilha do Mel an Island with 2 small villages and the rest are beaches and presurved nature. At this time of the year there are very few people. Summer is over, it's getting colder and it rains a lot, whitch means you almost have your private beach. But like a good Belgian pesron we are specialised in searching for sun where there is now. So I got the opportunity to get nice sunburned.
At the Island I met a German couple that lived in Brazil 20 years ago and told me about the evolution Brazil made, in terms of people and infrastructure. The were also Argentinians and 2 German people in my hostel.
Until now, I have been speaking, dutch, french, english, german, portugees and spannish or portuñol.

Now I'm back in Curitiba and tomorrow I'm meeting Luc Vankrunkelsven,
the coordinator of WERVEL vzw in Brussels, and we will travel together for one week.

For Brazilian people or people who can speak and read portuguees, here more information about the books Luc Vankrunkelsven wrote   about economic, social and agricultural topics and alternatives.

I hope you still enjoy reading my blog!

Some pictures:
The borders between Brazil and Argentina

 Iguaçu fall's from the Argentinian side

 Me with Sandra (Scotland) and Hans (The Netherlands)

Ciudad del Este
 Coca-Cola shoes!

Mata Atlandica

 Train from Curitiba to Morretes (and Paranagua)

 A Young firefighter from Guarapuava
 When Coca-Cola takes over

 Maniok and banana chips

 The local fitnes playground of Morretes. Every place in Brazil has his public playground for adults to work there muscles.

The harbor city Paranagua

My boat to the island... (Ilha do Mel)
 One part of the harbor

Ilha do Mel (Honey island)