Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Brasil, ok... now I understand… at least a little better. I just got back from my first trip to Brasil (after working here at Sambazon for over 5 years) and I can’t find the words to describe the beauty and the feelings I have for that country, the culture, its people, the music. We spent some quality time in Rio and more quality time up in Macapa, home to our açaí factory in the State of Amapa. Two very different places yet both still Brasil in all facets.
Rio is such a great city! I only got to see a little yet I was blown away by the people, the views and the fresh food… I was amazed by the food. We ate delicious, healthy, tasty food every day and the flavors and quality of the meals were unbelievable. Since it is South America, it was Winter in Brasil of course but we still enjoyed very warm days and even a little beach time in Ipanema. Vendors sell everything from fresh coconuts and açaí to t-shirts and jewelry on the beach and the boardwalk. The water temp was about the same as a Summer day in San Clemente, right around 70 degrees. We also spent half a day visiting the Corcovado, which is the giant statue of Christ that overlooks Rio from one of its highest points. It is one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever experienced.
Up in the Amazon, we toured the factory and tasted fresh açaí that hadn’t been plucked off the tree for longer than a few hours. The factory looked like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with everyone in clean white suits and masks. Right next door there is a tile and brick factory which uses all of the processed seeds from the facility to fire their kilns. Previously this brick maker had to burn hard woods but now the seeds and some wood chips produce the same energy to get the job done. Everyone thought that was very cool and it really showed how even in remote places like the Brasilian Amazon you can find green practices taking over. After we visited the brick factory we stopped by a local public school that our non profit endeavor, the SAP, supports. The students were making jewelry out of the polished seeds and learning everything from business skills to local sustainability actions. I purchased some nice pieces and toured the school after. The people were so gracious and warm to us. We also got to stop at the monument on the equator and take some pictures from the place where North meets South.
Brasilians are very well known for their fervent nationalism and energy when it comes to representing their country. Before, I never gave it more thought than being typical pride. Now I understand a little better why someone from Brasil can be so happy and proud of where they come from. Now I understand a little better and can’t wait to go back.
-Written by David Zitko (Western Sales Manager)