Bagunçaço and Partying Hard

Yesterday we went to visit the Bagunçaço in Alagados, Bahia, Brazil (say it with me, Bag-un-sah-soh). It’s a foundation that offers English lessons, music lessons, soccer practice, computer literacy and other life skills to young Brazilian children and teens. The entire service is free, supported by generous donations, and any child can participate as long as they abstain from criminal activity and stay in school.

This sign says ‘Negro (black) Conscience’. Black Consciousness Day is an actual holiday in Brazil, celebrating the history of Afro-Brazilians. It was sparked by a desire to commemorate the slaves that fought back or escaped their masters, slaves like Zumbi dos Palmares who led a Quilombo, a maroon colony, and fought off Portuguese colonists for years.

 One aspect of the Bagunçaço that’s very important, is recycling. Plastic jugs are turned into bongos and congos, trash cans into drums, and tin cans into camera recorders!

 The site of our 10 minute jam session with us & the kids. About 10 of us total, just jamming out freestyle! I danced and played… box drum? Wooden box drum? It’s a real instrument they made!

 Youth without drugs and death.

 There were a lot of signs like this with the Portuguese word, sala for example, and the English translation, room.

 A dead body surrounded by young people, is a sight many young Brazilians in the favelas, shantytowns, of Brazil have to face frequently. One object of the Bagunçaço is to make this grim reality disappear.

 The children!

 A lotta pictures, right? I was in awe of the inspiring messages, “Youth without drugs or death”, the strength in overwhelming odds, and the tools and resources to become better and do better. The teachers there were very nice (some of them, very, very cute.) and the kids incredibly enthusiastic. I didn’t get many pictures of them while I was practicing capoeira, dancing samba, or jamming in a jam band with the students (the last was so fun, I can’t even process it), but other students did and I’ll mooch off their photos later.
They even gave us an English performance!

I took the opportunity to play with the mural outside the building,

The entire experience was super fun, and made me contemplate returning to volunteer there. I’ve always wanted to do something similar in the future, work at places that give back in such monumental ways through such simple actions. As a result of this Bagunçaço, others have popped up all over the world offering the same services. It’s a really good thing.
Now onto other things,
despite being sick I decide to head out with my friends to Pelo for a drag show! When we arrive, we ask the police there for directions, and when we say the name of the street they all gasp and look at is surprised. “You wanna go where? Why? It’s so dangerous! Prostitution, Robbery, Drugs, Violence, Rape!” -In English! When they felt their point wasn’t getting across in Portuguese, they switched to English!
So, that being the case, we wandered Pelourinho, buying things and waiting for Sankofa to open. You know Sankofa, that African Bar and Restaurant I went to before? Last night’s event was hip hop, rap performance, and Axe (ah-shay), a Brazilian fusion of African rhythms and Brazilian spirituals. Here’s the flyer for the event. I’m in the process of collecting flyers for every event I attend!

We danced so hard, that everyone overslept and forgot we had beach plans today!

So I’m going to a nearby beach and shopping instead. Much easier on the body!


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