Shack in the Favela, Village in Bahia: Parts 9 and 10 of My Very Long Youth - 1967 to 1972
by Lawrence Bohme
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The year 1967 finds Lawrence alone in Rio, having quarrelled both with Jonathon, his New York friend in Brazil on a linguistics grant, and the wealthy Brazilian who, thanks again to Olimpio, has let him stay at his flat on Copacabana Beach. Having in the meantime befriended a fisherman's family, in their shack on a hillside in Ipanema, Lawrence agrees to teach English to young Joaninha in exchange for room and board, living in a cobbler's shop shared "with the cobbler by day and the rats by night". But his unglazed window gloriously overlooks the entrance to the bay, of which Lawrence makes several drawings with his pen (shown among the illustrations).
As the sole truly white man in the favela and having already learned some samba steps, Lawrence is recruited to take part in the carnival parade, disguised as a legendary Portuguese plantation owner who marries his beautiful mulatta slave. His costume - "fantasia" - consists of a top hat and a large "diamond" brooch on his cravate, as well as a blue "silk" coat...
At the language school where Lawrence teaches English, he befriends a Japanese immigrant, Yukio, who works in the crafts boutique next door. Soon the two friends set up a factory employing the favela people to make leather sandals and handbags, and move into a one-room Copacabana apartment "so we could entertain our girlfriends in privacy".
Lawrence's mother comes from California and soon persuades her devoted son to spend a year in a fishing village in Bahia, where they can paint and write... The two rent a house surrounded with coconut trees in a village up the coast from Salvador, where the fishermen go out on spindly rafts called "jangadas" and bring back groupers and octopus, which Joan's favourite "pescador" cooks in coconut milk and palm oil for their dinner.
After five years in Brazil, though, Lawrence decides it is time to go back "to civilization" to find a publisher for the book he's been writing about Brazilian life. By the end of 1970 ...
Length: 384 Pages (46,121 KB)Lending: EnabledAdded: Jan 18th, 2020