Commentary on political happenings and social conditions

Fotocrônica: Do as I Say, Not as I Do….

A while back I described the plight of our local taxi drivers.  A quick recap: there´s a government crackdown to stop their underground business, initiated by the neighboring city´s mayor and enforced by the police.   It hasn´t really stopped the taxi drivers in any way, and the taxi runs continue. Last week we were on […]

Bureaucrazy and Bank Accounts – Part 2

(This story is a continuation of a bureaucratic miracle whose history started months ago.  Part 1 started last week.) As instructed, I called the Federal Police back in April.  My vacation-loving contact told me that my paperwork had been submitted to an office in Belo Horizonte with so many initials in its acronym that he […]

Bureaucrazy and Bank Accounts

Today a miracle happened. A miracle of monumental proportions, the kind you write home to mom about, the kind that changes lives. To understand the miracle this story has to go back a ways. But don’t all the best stories? We were married in March of last year. At my Federal Police residency interview a kind […]

Fotocrônica: Lost in Translation

My husband once quipped that he’s yet to see a t-shirt in Brazil that has decorative words in Portuguese on it. Everything is in English. Y’know what? I spend a lot of time people-watching as I work the market every Saturday and he’s right. There’s church t-shirts and marketing for local businesses–those are all in Portuguese–but […]

4 Lessons from Tuning into the Other Side of the World

We are without satellite TV. This is a big deal because in this small town there’s really there’s not much else to do most nights. We used to have a pirated satellite box which decoded over 100 channels for us. When we got it the guy explained that some day, he couldn’t predict when, the […]

Growing Pains

Honestly I wasn’t planning on writing anything about the protests going on all over Brazil. To those of you who know me personally, I’m sure that strikes you as a little strange. Here’s the thing: despite my fierce love of grassroots organizing, I wasn’t sure that I had anything meaningful to add to the conversation. […]

Fotocrônica: Oh the Shame

Lots of larger Brazilian supermarkets have started the policy of not providing plastic shopping bags. The customer is expected to bring their own reusable bag. The populace is still adjusting, especially since it varies from store to store. I occasionally shop at a large supermarket in larger Theófilo Otoni to buy the items we crave […]

Stone Lottery

Everyone here plays the lottery. Of course there’s the national lottery, a megalotto-type, draw a bunch of numbers and win. Everyone in Brazil plays that. But here in Minas Gerais, almost every family also plays a second lottery. You drive down the highway and little human-size gopher holes decorate the mountain walls. Everyone’s digging in […]

How Many Ways to Say I Love You

The meat was sizzling on the grill. The men huddled round puffing at the flames and performing arcane rituals to minimize the smoke and maximize the heat. The women were in our kitchen pulling together some side dishes. Carrots were being grated. Collard greens were being chopped. Community news (i.e., gossip) was being shared. I […]