Saudades de Itapuã
By Mestre Acordeon
One very clear and great memory of my youth was to have spent a couple of weeks in the fishing village of Itapuã, where no more than a few dozen shacks covered with palm trees were magically sprinkled on the white sands of the pristine beach and surrounding dunes. In a small center plaza there was a church, the house of 7 windows and a few simple houses. We returned many times to swim in the warm waters of the Atlantic, to lay down in the sun, to hear the birds singing and the buzz of beetles around. More than anything else, it was my pleasure of eating wild mangos, pineapple and pitangas from the surrounding vegetation. The waters seemed permanently dotted with fishing boats, and puxada de rede was a common sight.
Nearly a lifetime later, Itapuã has become an urban and overcrowded neighborhood of Salvador (Bahia) with problems of drugs, crime, violence, pollution and general chaos. At some point, my older sister who is a biologist, told me about her dream of rescuing the traditional system of fishing in Itapuã and to help re-engage the youth of fisherman with their previous culture. At the same time, I was taking students to Bahia to give them the opportunity of immersing themselves in one of the most relevant capoeira environments in Brazil. Fortunately I was able to buy a house for may sister’s project and also of accommodating students during our trips to Bahia.
On our first visit to this house where we stayed, some little kids playing on the street in front of us knocked on the gate and asked me if they could come in to play in the swimming pool. It took me a moment to realize that the “swimming pool” was the blue painted cement patio that we used for our training. Of course we invited them in and shared capoeira and time with them. Everyday more arrived, until the house was nearly a permanent center of interest for them. Even though my sister did some very good work in the direction of her idea she could not continue to realize her dream. However, with the help and commitment of my family, students, and friends the Projeto Kirimurê (PK) was born and has been surviving legitimately for 11 years now, serving the children of its neighborhood.
Through PK’s cultural center, local children between 4 and 16 years of age find a safe and nurturing environment through which they discover who they are, why they are special, where they come from, and how to find positive solutions to seemingly impossible problems. As the children of the neighborhood learn the game of capoeira, its music, history and philosophy, they develop physical and emotional strength, discover their roots and build self-esteem and character. Along with capoeira and related music classes, PK also offers literacy classes, homework help, psychological counseling, activities in health and environmental education, as well as field trips and a daily nutritious snack. PK works hard to engage the families of the children in all of the above work.
Projeto Kirimurê is directly supported through the resources raised by the Capoeira Arts Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Those resources come from generous contributions of students, sales of my musical CDs, books, donations through my workshops, some grant monies and creative fundraising initiatives such as this RODA-THON that will take place on July 23rd. My goal is to give back to the generations of children whose ancestors gave myself and countless others the beautiful and invaluable art of capoeira.
Because of an upcoming back surgery, I will not be able to travel as much as necessary to raise funds for the Projeto Kirimurê in 2017. So, I am betting on the goodwill and collaboration of our students and friends to contribute to this 2016 RODA-THON. Although it takes place on 7/23, this crowdfunding page will be open for donations through August 13th.
Thank you for any donation you may give.
What is the Roda-thon?
The Roda-thon is a pledge based fundraiser in which participants play as many capoeira games as possible. As in many fundraisers of this nature, participants will look to raise funds through our extended networks of family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Participants will search for sponsorships on a per game basis, or by asking for a flat contribution. Suggested minimums are $1 per game or a flat contribution of $20, but any and all contributions will go a long way to helping us achieve our goal. All contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of US tax laws.
Thank you for joining me!