First of all, we were in the most amazing community. I have always liked the area, even though I have not spent very much time there. We have done two hikes in the forest near there right next to the zoo that is part of the only piece of Atlantic forest left in Recife and every time I go to the university I ride past it in the bus. I have been staring wistfully at this neighborhood from afar, and I finally got a chance to check it out up close.
We rode bikes (about a 45 minutes -1 hr ride) to get there which was an experience. I wasn't sure how the ride would be because I normally travel it by bus, but it was a really calm Sunday morning. We got there and found everyone hanging out in a central area by the soccer field (imagine that!). Most of the houses in the community are tucked into the Atlantic forest up on hills and the entire area is amazingly green and peaceful. The group from the Rede in that community recently took over an old police station so the big mission was to paint it and make it welcoming for the community. We went over there, but most of the space was already taken, so Sam and I ended up painting on the soccer field. We painted the proverb, "a bird in the hand is worth two flying." That is the Portuguese version--in the air versus stuck in a bush. Ha! There is actually some interesting political commentary that could come from that.
After painting, we went to Poeta's house and then he took us for a hike to Blanca Diaz' house in the Atlantic forest. We had been there before on the zoo hikes, but it is always spectacular. The legend is that the house belonged to Blanca Diaz (I think that is the right name). Her family was one of the original Jewish settlers in Recife escaping the inquisition (FYI: Recife has the first Jewish Synagogue in the Americas, the Jews from Recife were responsible for settling New York). When the Dutch controlled Recife, the Jews were free to practice their religion, but when the Portuguese took over they were forced to leave (hence the migration to NY). She was one of the few people tried in Brazil for witchcraft during the inquisition. As the story goes, she was burned for being a witch (I think that she was sent to Europe for that) because she was using medicinal herbs and treating the local people. I am sorry that the story is fuzzy, but no one who has told it really has had good details.
We spent the rest of the day playing in the forest and hanging out with the community near the soccer field. I think we were the last to leave! That is probably a first.
If I were to buy a house in Recife, it would be in Dois Irmãos.