Final considerations of our stay in Taboquinhas, Bahia.
Taboquinhas has changed in two years time. Much more cars and especially motorcycles. Understandable of course, since walking on the many steep streets in Taboquinhas is no sinecure. And horse riding, although done by many, isn’t a solution for the majority of the Taboquinhas population. It has downsides though. Air polution is one of them. Carefree walking is also under pressure and more (unnatural) noise is added to the already noisy village environment. For me personally is the air polution the biggest worry. It makes me think about what we experience in the streets of Indonesian towns, big or small. Streets swamped by motorcycles, making air inhalation a heavy job for me. No, I prefer horses and carts instead of modern life vehicles. Much healthier for everything. Besides, nobody dies by the use his legs. About one thing I am sure: life on the other side of the Contas river is much healthier than it is in the village center of Taboquinhas. This is said by me because my wife and I have plans on that other side.
Sometimes we walk from the river to our property, an old Fazenda (farm) with a beautiful parcel of land, comprising of a portion Atlantic rainforest, meadow and fruit plantations. Our bonus is the waterfall spot where we invision a great relaxation place, offering natural hydro massage around a natural swimming pool. Right now we seek a Bahian farmers couple. We will grant them the use of a large portion of the land. We like them to wisely exploit what already is available and to make use of the possibilities to build new projects. In addition they have to be prepared to serve us when we are there during 4 to 5 months a year and gain a bit of additional income from us.
The distance to cover to our farm is about 4 kilometers. We are used to walk this distance in the forests surrounding Amersfoort, the town where we live in the Netherlands. Our 4 km walk at home takes approximately one hour, however, not from the Contas river to our farm. The rural path to it is hilly and the temperature on average between 27 to 30 degrees celcius. One and a half to two hours is more like it. Return to Taboquinhas the same afternoon takes at least an extra half hour walking in my case, that is when I have sufficient water with me. My wife walks much lighter and the sinewy farmers of this rural Bahia area walk really fast, without a blink of their eye.
Our neighbours are easy going and friendly. I will introduce you to one of them. The name of this black lady farmer is ‘Donna Raimunda’. She keeps an eye on our terrain and reaps fruits which are useful for her. On her own parcel of land she maintains some small plantations with a variaty of plants, meanwhile taking care of three to five children (when I am right) of uncertain background. Her husband passed away a few years ago after a long dragging illness.
This was a tough time for her. Always when we show up at her farm house (we would call it a small cabin) are we received on a heart warming manner. No matter what has happend in the meantime. Lost padlock of our own little ‘farmhouse’, taking (they would call it: making use of…) away part of our barbed wire fence, connecting electricity cable to the pole on our land where we already ordered the energy company to dismantle the connection box, things like that.
When we visited Donna Raimunda and told her that this would be cut off by us and should be arranged in a different way at some time. The news is accepted without being shocked or something alike. A simple ‘okay’, no problem, I think about it when need be, and invites us in one breath for dinner. Remarkable people. Difficult to be angry with them. They are likable bond of people and able to make something out of nothing. You have to know that a dinner is prepared on the spot. A chicken caught and butchered, vegetable taken from the garden, fruits from the trees, cooking on a wood fire and a meal put on the table.
Very big meals, really, at least to what we are used to. It is always a bit tricky to explain that we really had enough food, coconut water coffee or tea. It is a special treat that they give as some sort of pacification treat and bond renewal. A great experience it is for sure.
The walk back to Taboquinhas is always the hardest. Adding up simply reveals why. One and a half hour to the farm, inspecting a portion of 26ha, visiting our most important neighbour and than the return to Taboquinhas. Total time on our legs on demanding terrain is between four and five hours. It is a good thing that our network of acquaintances is growing by the year. Always nice to find a place to relax on the way back. One such place is the white farm on the river Contas bank accross from Taboquinhas. The father of Valeria, Moises Tavares his wife, lives and works there as manager of this farm. To walk up to the farm, having a seat, enjoying a fresh drink offered by the friendly father is a real treat. The view on Taboquinhas, cows laying down on the farm meadow, a peaceful conversation is what makes that we recuperate quickly.
Well, we swam, canoed, watching the kids, boys and girls alike, who love playing soccer on the river bank, yes, enjoy the people of Taboquinhas. Most of them go to church several times during the week. Occasionally we go with them. Most of all inspired by our appreciation of their singing. Sometimes we accept their invitation to sing a few songs for them. They like it. They hand over a guitar, a mic and put the amplifier higher. Subsequently I startle right after the first two words when I try to introduce the song. They adjust the sound to a lower level, but only after a serious request. These requests are unusual, mostly it is the other way around. Anyway, it might be clear that we are spending time in Taboquinhas in various ways and it isn’t a punishment. On the contrary.