Influences of Bahia in Minas Gerias

“My father is from Bahia.”

Vivi tells me as we reach the entrance of her home in the suburbs of Belo Horizonte.

“There’s always pepper in our house!”

She concludes.

And as we make our was down to her house from the gate, I notice fruit trees growing wildly, and a cocoa tree.

“Yes, it’s cocoa. You make chocolate from it.”

Vivi confirms.

“My father planted the seed from Bahia many years ago.”

And the seed of Bahia has indeed been planted in this household which has strong influences of Vivi’s father’s birthplace.

I asked Auzuir a few questions during one of his less busy moments;

“In 1978, I was 25, I came to Belo Horizonte. Life in Bahia was a lot different. I grew up in the countryside; Guaratinga, south of Bahia. I was a farmer. I planted various crops; beans, cassava, banana, potato and others. We sold them to make a living. It was the way to survive. Countryside lifestyle.”

“When I came to Minas Gerias I worked in a factory. There was a set timetable- for break, for lunch etc. In Bahia I was more flexible. Things were harder than they are now.”

“I still have influences of Bahia here. I have friends and family from Bahia living here. I add flavours from Bahia- pepper and spices, in food. I make cocoada to sell (a sweet made from grated coconut). I have a cocoa tree in the garden which I planted in 1996. It still produces fruit.”



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