Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back to Brazil…. (to you my friends: Delphine, Christian and Jerome, and Max son of Delphine and Christian)

…12 years later

It took me a long time to come back here... to go back to this place of wonders, amazement... of my first long break in professional life…first trip completely alone, without an end date...

 A dreamland for a long journey… along the vast coast of Brazil of Peru, the heights of Bolivia, from west to east sides of South America, from the richest to the poorest…

 a deep journey inside too… from candomble to ayahuasca in selva peruana…

 A place where music is everywhere: from the airport sign where I landed, in Rio, Tom Jobim! to the roof of a tri-electrico, in Salvador where Gilberto Gil, soon to become a minister of Culture (where would you see this elsewhere in the world?) was gigging.

Music as a passion, as a compulsion, often mixed with dancing… as a way to escape, to forget for a moment.

Music and dancing as ... the almighty
that day when 3 guys disguised in carnival outfits killed 3 of my friends….
A place where I lost Delphine, Jerome and Christian butchered in February 2007 in Rio, avenia Nossa Senohra de Copacobana.
Horrifically massacred with machetes by Tarcio.

I lived with them in this flat…where Jerome got decapitated.
I have pictures of all of them including the butcher Tarcio from 2002, at home!
I could have been one of them…

It took me a long time to accept, to go back to humanitarian missions, to accept that there will always be such a possibility to fall into horror…
That every human being has an animalistic side, a capacity to act in the most horrific manner.
That every dog can be the softest, sweetest in certain circumstances and kill your 3 years old nephew the next day!

I guess that sharing with peers, with like minded people, in conference like this Forum of Social Impact investment:
or the reunion of Insead Alumni in Paraty to discuss our projects... put me back on track, getting back to the purpose, which I chose to go away from London, from hard core capital!

I am writing these lines at the end of a few magical days in, once again, what is the discovery of a beautiful island, a surfer paradise: Florianopolis, and especially its west coast from Campeche to its tip, the end of Rio Vermelho… Its never-ending beaches…

My favourite wave of Praia Melo

And this beautiful memory of Rio Vermelho where I took Moly Russo and neighbour for a swim... freedom swim... everybody getting a naked one... them for getting rid of the first layer of flies, me too maybe... and me for the ecstatic feeling of freedom, electrifying my body...

And the the memories of the most beautiful I saw this time... Trindade, and it succession of marvel to marvel, praia du meio, to natural swimming pools...
to walk in the bushes... the mangrove...

And then the time to come back to SP, on route the chance to visit IPE, project of my Insead friends Eduardo and Claudio doing amazing jobs in preservation, education, water, community engagement...

Now let me explain further my last trip to Brazil: 12 years ago I landed exactly there in Rio, and did the same journey: from SP to Rio and ended up doing a project for kids of the street in an NGO called Terr’ativa. The NGO who was acting on sustainability before the word even became trendy, was building small projects to provide kids with some kinds of revenues or activities: in the favela of Santa Theresa: organizing tours for tourists arriving with the tram and taking them in beautiful trek through the historical architecture of Santa Theresa, who once was the richest quarter, embassy area of Rio… taking them through the backdoors, and forestall track to the Corcovado!
Giving a chance to those kids to get out of the streets to subtract them from lost bullet…

This time I spent those 4 days in Rio… in pain, fearing to get out of the safe place of my friend in Leblon, paralyzed by the idea of seeing ghosts in the street.
The ghosts of Delphine, Jerome and Christian 3 friends who founded Terr’ativa with Mauricio and hosted me in Nossa Senhora de Copa Cabana 178, and got killed 5 years years later in march 2007. Masacred by Tarcio, on kid taken out of Bangoo, who went to Uni thanks to a scholarship granted through the NGO, became its accountant, and started to… steal… lots. Up to 30000 Reais which then became too visible.
And like in many cases in dangerous developing countries when the time came to find a pay back solution the kid hired 2 professional killers, whom the first day of Carnaval in Rio, massacred my 3 friends.
Delphine and Christian had a 2 year old son, Max.

All the good memories of my arrival in Rio came back when I went there.
The feeling of samba, music and dance everywhere, even on the beach, the way the guys harangue you to come to their “barraca”, the way girls walk… gosh those walks in Ipanema, Leblon, Copa…
Posto 10 ate Posto 16, my surfing, research area, and Portuguese learning!

Not really deep conversations, but sometimes to chase ghosts, lightness is good, as well as looking ahead with those projects discussed at the Forum, at IPE, and lately with the possibility to guide a TV crew from Columbia in Rio and shift that energy of 2007.

And it feels like time has now come to forgive, to move on, to trust life again, and human kind.
Maybe the cleansing through Waste Management these past 3 years, from the deepest dirt in life to the real dirt of life…

“Life is an experimental journey undertaken involuntarily. It is a journey of the spirit through the material world and, since it is the spirit that travels, it is the spirit that is experienced. That is why there exist contemplative souls who have lived more intensely, more widely, more tumultuously than others who have lived their lives purely externally.” Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet...

My lusitanic Phase... just finished "The Pilgrim" beautiful tale on travelling and... love!

and because I love to lay flowers in the morning on a bed where love has messed it, these are flowers that got layed for me by a wonderful mermaid...

Dá-me lírios, lírios
E rosas também.
Mas se não tens lírios 
Nem rosas a dar-me,
Tem vontade ao menos
De me dar os lírios 
E também as rosas.
Basta-me a vontade,
Que tens, se a tiveres,
De me dar os lírios 
E as rosas também,
E terei os lírios -
Os melhores lírios - 
E as melhores rosas
Sem receber nada,
A não ser a prenda
Da tua vontade 
De me dares lírios
E rosas também.

Poema de Canção sobre a Esperança (Fragmento)
Álvaro Campos (Fernando Pessoa)


  1. Thanks for sharing all this Diego.“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” (A.Einstein).Obrigada:)Myriam