Glimpses coming from the forest
Marilia de Nazaré de Oliveira Ferreira
It was still dark when he lit his cigarette. The fire released sparks while heating us. We were in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, tropical and humid, with its sounds and images, smells and mysteries.
He began to speak: – When a people were all alive here, at a time like this, everyone bathed in the river, children, young, old, couple, everyone. Then they painted the body with annatto and the day started. Nobody wore clothes. That did not exist. I don’t forget one day about my people. They are with me. I remember their eyes, their faces, their hands, their feet, their backs.
I spent the day reflecting on that conversation. How much I missed that voice, how sorry I too! Couldn’t everything be different?
That place was steeped in echoes of the tradition of many thousands of years. Their legends were clearly related to geological events that had occurred a long time ago. Their stories, places, ceremonies, songs were stuck there.
It was difficult to remember the world I had left behind.
The world of academic sophistication, confrontation and intrigue.
“-Kaprã magnet! License! Good night! What’s dinner there? ” Eating together was always a good time to learn. She asked me, “How many brothers does your husband have?” I replied, “-Three.” “- So it’s good, when the husband leaves, he’s not alone, they stay with you and take care of
you.” I was startled by that statement and made my speech: “-No. I cannot sleep with my husband’s brothers. ” He looked at me scared without believing what he heard. It was like that in his culture.
And there we were again, stuck by cultural difference. There was no right or wrong. There was just a difference!
Once again my thoughts drove me away from there, confronting my truth with the truth of that people.
Tohina! The difference was evident in the flavor of the cuisine, in the poetry, in the dances, in the conception of the world and of life. And I represented the colonizer who contributed to the destruction of the forest and that people! Was that why I kept thinking and marveling at the recent discoveries? Would the need for one people to dominate the other explain the many problems that exist between these peoples, such as the struggle for land, for the rights to preserve their space without flooding? Domination, in fact, operated in every way. After all, they were the political minority. Did they need to disappear just for that? Or was that the natural order of things?
No, it couldn’t be. There were dreams, culture, wealth, knowledge. We could not just ignore all of this and admit that the colonialist spirit overcame life! It was necessary to live up to the spirit of unity of all peoples in the face of Mother Earth.
There was so much to learn, so much to absorb and so much to exchange with them. Why prefer ethnocentrism, life without alterity, without admitting the different?