I wrote about our visit to my uncle Joannes’ coffee farm in Braganca Paulista. My uncle comes from a family with ten children. He is a brother of my mom. All siblings and many cousins visited my uncle in Brazil. All, but my mother, because my dad insists that Brazil is too dangerous.
My cousin, her husband and kids playing cards
“God was a Brazilian, so we’ll be alright”. Fueled by commodity exports to a booming China, Brazil averaged 3.9% growth between 2001 and 2011. In contrast, Brazil’s gross domestic product shrank 3.8% in 2015 and is expected to contract a further 3.5% this year. Across the country, gun-related homicide has increased by 387% since the 1980s. The Zika virus is spreading. To make matters worse, or better, depending on who you talk to, president Dilma Rousseff has been impeached.
My Brazilian cousin, who is thirty-three and lives near Campinas, said, “The family sitio (farm) has been robbed eight times in the past year. When my father lived in the city, somebody stole all of the copper wires. One day, my husband and I were stuck in a traffic jam and five teens pointed their guns at us. My mom just received a phone call falsely claiming that I had been kidnapped.”
So my dad has a point when he says that Brazil is dangerous. Whenever I am fearful, which is too often, my husband says, “Life itself is dangerous” or “Life is a fatal“. I have often repeated those phrases when I worried about terrorism in Israel. I think they are finally sticking. When we met Bart in Ubatuba, he arrived with a twenty-seven-page handout from his doctor full of dangers, medical and otherwise. I forced myself to stop reading after page one. What’s the point? We had decided to visit family in Brazil, avoiding the big cities of Rio and Sao Paulo to help stack the odds in our favor. Worrying would not change our fate.
My mom too relented and she flew into Sao Paulo airport for a one-week stay. We feel so privileged that we were able to share part of our Brazil adventure with her. And, since this blog lags real life, I can report that we all survived Brazil unscathed. We are many happy memories richer and didn’t get robbed of a single penny
My mom, her bro, my cousin and us at the amazing BBQ my uncle prepared