Praça Manoel de Souza Barros is the bairro park only a few blocks away from the casa, my backyard here in BH, and I adore it. I visit once or twice a day if possible. A few blocks long, the praça is a comfortable size, and so enjoyable! Its shape is triangular, and it has typical park things, like lovely trees, flowers, grass, play equipment, benches, and the like. People bring their families, dogs, friends, toys, bikes, soccer ball, and tightropes (very popular to put a fancy rope between trees or poles and tightrope in Brasil) and let loose in this urban retreat. Typically, I head over with Pachin during the day, where we practice português, or draw, or play capoeira, and then return to walk with Luz Helena and German at night.
One day (actually the same day as the violino adventura), we went visited the praça to pick up litter. It was my idea, as litter is something of a problem in our world, and since I don’t currently work, it was one way I could contribute. My new family supported the idea and joined me, which was awesome. As I stooped to pick up my first item, a shattered plastic cup, two children ran over to see what I had found. Their mother approached and we quickly became friends; the children, John, around age six, and Ana, around four years old, were delighted to help, as if it were a fun game like Easter egg hunting or something.
The siblings squealed delightedly and ran about hunting for debris. John spoke excellent English, so I explained how natural things like sticks and stones we could leave on the ground or move to better areas, and other things like cigarette butts and wrappers constituted trash. At one point, Ana slipped on a rolling wet branch and fell dramatically and comically backwards. My initial reaction was worrisome, but the two of them only laughed and laughed, so I quickly felt relieved. Soon, John’s kid friends came over and joined us, too. We filled a large trash bag after an hour; the praça never looked so fantastic! People smiled and took notice, too, so I hope it can become a regular praça actividade.
I hope you are able to imagine laying on a blanket in the clean grass, looking up at this sky, enjoying the tropical breeze on your skin while reading this. Saude!