March 12, 2010

Another Way of Life: A Weekend on a Farm in Rural Brazil with Raymi

I spent last weekend in Itapuranga with Raymi, my six-year old daughter, while Nando went to Pirenopolis with the twins. When we met up in Goias Velho on Monday, Raymi regaled her older sisters with stories about the farm – how she had fed the chickens, rode the horse, and watched Braulio milk the cows. The twins were jealous, and wanted to go to the farm immediately. I told them they had to wait until Friday, as we would be going to school all this week. They were disappointed, but, slowly, the days have passed, and now Friday is here and we will go back to the farm this afternoon.

When we first got to the farm last Friday, Raymi didn’t like it. However, after two days there, she grew quite used to it. On Sunday morning, she woke up at the crack of dawn and went straight to the chicken coop. She found the Portuguese words to ask Fatima if she could feed the chickens. When Fatima said she could, she got a cob of corn out of storage and de-grained it for the chickens. Then, she took pictures as Braulio milked the cows.

On Sunday, we didn’t stay at the farm for breakfast, as we had promised Rosmery that we would have breakfast at her house in Itapuranga. After breakfast with Rosmery, we made our way to the Feira da Cachaça. It is a farmer’s market with people selling vegetables, milk, eggs, live chickens, meat, fruit, and a few plastic items. And, true to its name, it has a bar with cachaça in case anyone want to get their Sunday morning drink on. There were a few tipsy folks around the bar, but they were harmless.

Raymi was disappointed with the Feira da Cachaça; it was not nearly as nice as the Friday evening Feira da Lua, which has kids’ games and toys and grilled skewers. At the Feira da Lua, everyone dresses up and looks nice; not so much at the Feira da Cachaça. After the Feira, we went back to Rosmery’s house, and hung out with her for most of the day. In the evening, Evandro took us back to Fatima’s house, where we would spend our last night before moving to our new home in Goias Velho.

During our weekend at the farm, Raymi was able to see many things she hadn’t seen before. She saw Braulio milk the cows and take the milk to the depository where he sells it. She saw Fatima pick herbs from the garden to cook with. She saw people come to buy several bushes of dry corn from Fatima. She saw many trees with fruits – papayas, bananas, limes, and coconuts. She saw where the hens lay eggs and the pigs take mud baths. Seeing all of this, she will have a better idea of where food comes from, and of how people in the countryside make a living.

She also will have an idea of another way of life. At the farm, they have a television, but they don’t have computers or Internet or a DVD player. They also eat pretty much the same thing each day – rice, beans, eggs, and potatoes. For breakfast, they have coffee with milk straight from the cows. They rarely leave the farm.

Their general lack of mobility and lack of variety in their food also had me thinking. We eat different dishes every day. And, if I am missing an ingredient, I am apt to run to the supermarket and get it. In contrast, Fatima has everything she needs at the farm. Her husband goes to Itapuranga once a week on his motorcycle and buys oil, sugar, margarine, and some other things they like. But, if they run out of something, they do without.

I can stay in the house for a day or two relaxing or working, but I can’t imagine living on the farm and never leaving. A whole week might pass by at the farm, and Fatima won’t leave the farm or have visitors. She doesn’t seem to mind at all. They seemed quite happy to have us as visitors, and insisted we return. But, I am sure they would be fine if we didn’t.

Spending the weekend on a farm in rural Brazil, so far from everything and everyone, served as a moment of reflection for me, and a learning experience for Raymi and me.


  1. Tía me parece muy interesante lo que has escrito,como describes la forma de vida en una granja.

  2. Cool post!

    Rural farm life sounds like a good life for introverts. My husband and I would have the same pattern of only leaving the house once a week if I didn't have a job and school to attend. Also, the diet of rice, beans, eggs, and potatoes is pretty much perfection for my belly. Add some greens and I'm all kinds of healthy and happy.

  3. Emily: Oh, greens are an easy option on the farm as well. They didn't plant many, but I am sure they could if they wanted to.

    It is nice to be in the slow lane for a while. But, I don't think I could stay for too long!