Settling In

Drew Hayes - Brazil


December 5, 2012

Often when I tell people I’ll be living in Diogo for the next six months, they tell me how privileged I am.  They gush about the beach, the sand dunes, and the river. Now that I’m here, I can confirm that Diogo, Bahia, Brazil is a place worth gushing about. It makes an awesome postcard.

Diogo is situated on the northern coast of Bahia, an area called the Linha Verde. The Linha Verde, or “Green Line,” consists of kilometers and kilometers of palm trees, sand dunes, lush vegetation, and beaches. Some of the best and most famous beaches in the world are located on the Linha Verde, so naturally, tourism is big here. In the towns to either side of Diogo, hotels have sprung up. Instead of a hotel, Diogo is left with the role of the lesser known and less commercial tourist destination, but a tourist destination nonetheless. In other words, not everyone in Bahia has heard of Diogo, but those who have speak fondly of it. Not everyone has come to Diogo, but those who have come continue to come back year after year.

For these next six months, although I will be enjoying Diogo and its attractions, I’ll be spending my time working with an organization situated here, the Organization of Permaculture and Art (OPA). If you haven’t heard of permaculture before, go ahead and give it a good Wikipedia search, but in short, it’s the environmentalist’s utopia. It’s a broad collection of ideas and lifestyle changes that create, in theory, a permanent culture. The buzz word is sustainability.

The aim of the OPA is to educate people, especially children, about sustainable solutions through hands-on experience and art. Through classes with children and workshops with professionals, OPA spreads ideas related to water and waste management, construction, and agriculture. If you’re interested, check out www.opabrasil.org.br. I’m still learning the ropes at OPA, but I expect to spend my time working in both the practical and organizational sides of the organization, i.e. working in the dirt and on the computer.

So, my new, temporary life has begun. Perhaps I come to embrace my life and work here; perhaps I only manage to bear it. Perhaps I’ll enjoy, perhaps I’ll struggle. The things I may learn, do, or accomplish are largely unknown to me. But that’s the point. Is it?

Drew Hayes