Reflections on Belém

It’s nearly 1pm on Tuesday and I’m back in Friburgo. My time here is halfway over. It’s gone fast. Time to stop and reflect for a bit.

For our last day at the Forum, we went to UFRA campus, and for the most part just walked in and out. The native medicines stall, which was our main objective, had shut down so that was that. There were various convergences taking place throughout the day, and the official farewell, but none of those interested us directly.

I was slightly disappointed by this edition of the Forum. 2005 was such an exciting experience that I missed some of that atmosphere. Some of the really interesting fringe participants seemed to be missing, and that was a big loss.

I only really got to three sessions, which if I’d been travelling to Brazil especially for the Forum, is not a good investment of either time or money. But since I was visiting my brother and the Forum was a side effect, it’s probably worth it. Hard to quantify, really. I’m glad I did it, but could I sell that to an agency if I were asking for funding?

Of the three (American Friends Service Committee, Economia Solidária, and the Keppe Motor), I found Keppe most intriguing. I’ve now read his physics/metaphysics book and regardless of my caution about the motor itself, I find him a philosopher to watch. I’ll be writing more about him elsewhere.

On the upside, because of my Flickr photos, I was contacted by two ‘crowd-sourcing’ news websites: NowPublic and The Observers, which was an unexpected honour.

It’s now time to think about the second half of my trip, which is to try to interview and document the workers here at the Cordoeira project, and time for this will be short because some of them are leaving in the next day or so. More as I can post it.


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