Yesterday was an adventure for our team. We headed to Boa Vista do Acará to see a little bit of the what life is like on the islands around the Belém area. We met with four students from UFPA that were our guides for the day. We started the trip off by taking two small boats from the university to the village. When looking at a map, it is possible to get their by car, but it would have taking an hour and a half to drive rather than our 15 minute boat ride. Along the river, many houses were on stilts because of how much the tide goes in and out on a daily basis. Boats seemed to be everyone's main form of transportation if they lived along the coast. There was even a school boat that docked at the village since that is where the school is.
We got to the village and went right to the school where we were able learn a little bit about how they get internet and phone service. There is a group at UFPA called CELCOM that is able to get connectivety from UFPA to a room in the school. From that room, they are able to have towers that make internet and phone services available throughout the village and surrounding areas.
Behind the school, there is an elderly man that is somewhat famous for what he does. He is known for showing people how to open a Brazilian Nut and how to climb the açaí trees as well as showing them all of the different vegetation of the village. As we hiked around the forest, we walked past trees that towered over us. We smelled a lot of the vegetation they use for medicine, spices, and perfumes. All of this giving us an insight as to what life was like living on the island.
From there, we took a few mototaxis to the Association of Organic Producers of Boa Vista do Acará. There, we were able to see some of the different plants they grow and how they grow them. Carson tried one of the peppers they grow and was completely caught off guard by how hot it was. From that, we learned that sugar can stop the burning sensation from the pepper.
It started raining as we took the mototaxis back to the main docks, and we looked for another boat to be able to take us to the island of Combú so that we could have lunch and go for a swim. It was refreshing to be able to eat and jump into the cold water in the river. We were able to talk with the students that brought us to the island and share personal stories as well as to share our cultures with each other.
In the end, it was a fantastic (and tiring day)! Though we wish we would have had time to talk to the director of the school to see if there were projects we could work on, we plan to contact her to see if there are possible potential projects. As a team, we have discussed that it would be cool if students in the future could stay on the island for some time and work with the school and the association.
That's it for now. This is Magann signing off. Look for an update this coming weekend about our visit to a lab, final days in Portuguese class, and exploration of more of what this beautiful city has to offer. Tchau!