Back and forth, back and forth, the beach washes over the sands of time…

Picture a beach surrounded by hills covered with tropical trees. The sun is out but when the wind picks up it becomes a little chilly. A little girl who couldn’t have been more than seven plays by herself for well over an hour. She rides an adult bike, pedaling while standing, otherwise her feet would not reach the pedals, her legs barely thicker than the metal of the bike. Her father plays soccer, kicking up sand with each step. Vendors entertain us as a way to sell their wares- Julie even is persuaded to buying a blanket for about 28 R$. Pedro and I talk (in English!) about ideas, concepts, and the relationship between the past and present, drawing pictures in the sand to demonstrate.

Back and forth, back and forth, the water washes over the sands of time…

Why is she giving all these meaningless details? You might ask. Well, compared to our other scheduled events, our trip to the beach was different. Other days were filled with activities meant to teach us or opportunities that allowed us to teach. But going to the beach is the epitome of tourism, which begs the question, didn’t we come to Brasil for some greater purpose than some fantastical scene of paradise? Well yes, but for me, the beach was also a part of that greater purpose, and I’ll tell you why.

It took me the next day to fully understand. “Americans do this and Brazilians do that- but at the end of the day people are people” a man named Sergio, whom I met at Methodist Church in Brasil, told me. That was more or less response to my question about what he thought were the biggest differences between the people of America and the people of Brasil seeing as he had spent a few years in Boston. And that’s it—people are people!

When I went fishing with Brittany, families gathered around the water marveling at their children. I saw a woman doting over her child, “my son’s a fisherman!” she exclaimed in Portuguese when he caught a fish. I asked a young man (who unfortunately for me didn’t speak any English) if my friend could play a game of soccer, or futebol, with his friends to which he said okay, and I felt so much pride when he said that she played well. Overall we saw various games going on in the sand, we saw love and rawness, and we saw and talked with people. When I looked up at the sky, I saw the sun, the same sun that shines in Rochester (even if it feels like there’s less of it at home) and I even saw the same moon, it’s light coexisting with that of the sun’s. I was reminded at the beach in a new way that even though times change and locations may switch, people remain people.

Brittany fishing in the pond!
Categories: Brazil 2019

1 Comment

Amy Kovach · May 27, 2019 at 1:11 pm


You also just need time to relax! I am glad amidst the fun adn relaxing that you were reminded of this important lesson!

<3 Dr. Kovach

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