Waiting with Dona Dirce

I’m sitting in the Casa de Dona Dirce in the countryside of Cunha, who is hosting the temporary nursery, where people will come tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day) to collect their trees. She makes me coffee, while she heats water using a brilliant wood heating system that takes the natural spring water, and runs it through pipes that are heated by wood, to prepare for showers, while her 93 year old father watches us.

Today, notices are being posted on fences and word is traveling across the patches of forest, among neighbors “…que tiver interesse em promover a proteçao de minas de agua para recebimento de mudas de especie da Mata Atlantica…” saying that tomorrow is the day to come collect trees, if you’d like to protect your water sources.

Each person will sign a simple statement, promising they will plant and care for their trees. Period. They will be asked to take at least one of each of the 20 species we have to offer, to bring diversity back to the land.

Globo TV is coming too, as well as representatives from the Nativas Association of Growers from Guaratingueta. How the timing of everyone will coordinate is in the hands of Nature herself. Here there are very few phones that work, no cell service or internet, so coordination is organic, natural, intuitive and always, surprising!

Dona Dirce was explaining to me (eu entendo mais do que falo) in Portuguese, that when she was born, she remembers how large and swift the streams and water springs were, that are now a fraction of their size. She took me to the stream to see how small it is now, compared to fifty years ago when it ran like a bold river. She showed me how high the water came, up to her thighs, in a flash flood on New Year’s Day, due to deforestation. The community gathered at her home, in fear of the future.

Some teenagers were waiting for their VW school bus came in to see who I am, what this iPad thing is (I sure wish it would STOP autocorrecting my Portuguese), and to watch the little movie I made to show the youth from Los Angeles who are supporting them to become eco-heros. Their jaws dropped as the Los Angeles teens said “Tudo Bem?” and put their thumbs up for Cunha! They squealed with delight when I showed them photos of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and had a hard time believing me when I said that their land, their rainforest, was one of the most important places on earth right now – they must help us to bring the forest back.

I hope that they will get, deep in their bones, the truth of those words.

Sent from my iPad
Alana

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