It’s been interesting living with the MST this past month or so: regional and state meetings (which were full-on weekend events), occupation of the town hall of Santo Amaro (one of the guys working there and living in an assentamento was not promoting the interests MST, apparently), occupation of new land (essentially seizing new land for a future settlement), planning for tourists visiting, planning for students visiting, and, of course, living what are generally busy everyday lives. Maybe it’s always like this here, but my increased exposure to the different assentamentos and people here have inspired some interesting comparisons…

…between Nova Suica and Eldorado de Pitinga (the other assentamento playing host to GCY fellows):

  • Agua: Nova Suica has spring water access at every house, while the residents of Eldorado need to fetch barrels of water from the well up the road
  • Infrastructure: Eldorado has a dormitory and a refetoria (??), along with a bar and a market, so it plays host to the big-time meetings
  • Tranquility: Eldorado is “mais agitado,” in part because of said meetings, in part because of the general compactness of Eldorado
  • Surroundings: one of the interesting things about Nova Suica, though is that it is right next to Sito Camacari, a decently sized community that isn’t part of the MST

…between Nova Suica and Salvador:

  • City vs. country, clearly: far more tranquil, far less dense, fewer cars, fewer people…farms, animals…
  • Clarity of speech: this might be all in my head, but everyone I’ve come across from the city since arriving in Nova Suica has been far easier to understand
  • Way of life: it was far more of a culture shock coming here than arriving in Salvador—in a material respect, yes, but mostly socially: people here are welcoming, loud, and love to tease—they’re raw Bahia

…and, believe it or not, between Nova Suica and Raleigh, NC:

  • Social atmosphere: everyone knows each other, and the other people in the community are frequently the topics of conversation—negative or positive
  • Spread of buildings: everything is very spread out—somewhat like a Raleigh suburb
  • Rural areas: you don’t have to drive far out of Raleigh to find rurality—living off the land, somewhat like this