Monday, October 27, 2008
Carrosa to the other side of town.
On Friday at the Irmandade, Valmi had suggested that I come back Saturday at ten to go with him to Mae Filinha’s house to see the cooking process. Everyone in Salvador had said that they were sure they would be serving Caruru. Valmi told me that she requested Feijoada. There was said to be no significance or metaphor in the choice of Feijoada, they did not have to feed Orixa, just honor Filinha’s wishes for her 105th birthday.
When I arrived just past ten the next morning Reunis was the Sister on duty. She came in while we were talking, Valmi, two of his four daughters and me. She changed into a lovely saia of red lace with a typical white lace blouse and head wrap. She has a wide, round face and tender eyes. Her gaze always suggests a tolerance and empathy for all of those people who cross her path. She greeted me, by saying,” Se chama uma pessoa atençao. Cada feo tem sua simpatico e cada bom tem sua elegante.” Attentive people see that we each have an ugly side that asks for sympathy and a good side that exudes elegance. A morning thought that would, or should have helped me later.
Valmi left me with Reunis and he went to get the carrosa or mule driven wagon. They intended to transport a refrigerator over to Filinha’s to store overflow food and drink for the party. He came back shortly, and suggested that I get a cab or motor scooter taxi to follow him. “Não podemos ir comjunto?" I asked. I wanted to ride in the cart. He loved that side of me. Twice he jumped off the cart, grabbed my camera and jogged ahead or stayed behind to make a photo-op with me as the focus. We fall in well together.
We probably could have ruptured our bladders riding in the cart over the cobblestones across town, but it was good, honest fun. Valmi introduced me to one Filinha’s daughters and sons and left to help with the Caravana da Musica e Deportes that was coming to town with Daniela Mercury. I took a seat in the open air Terreiro and began observing how unique and beautiful it was. Three middle aged black women were already sitting alongside me on the same bench . One of them had been introduced to me in the street just outside of the house. She had a kind face and elephantine calves. A pretty powder blue headwrap and matching dress, fitted at the bust and ample below to keep her hips under cover.
The other two started speaking at me in hushed tones, immediately. They were probing me to see how much Portuguese I spoke and understood. They wanted to converse about me, in front of my face. Not very pretty. What they did share were their names, Ayesha and Eunidis. They were both from the area near Feiras de Santana. Allegedly a powerful community with interesting terreiros, some of which were administered Gays and Bi’s. They were neither.
They had a vengeful look that worked its way into my skin like a slow cigarette burn to the groin. They needed to know if I had been made. “Está feito, voce? Acho que nao. Pois, estava vendo suas contas, e são mau feito pra voce. Quem jogou pra voce? I see your beads, they were not well chosen for you, who threw the cowries for you?"
Ele deve ser Iansa. Sim, estou do acordo. Iansa e Ogum, não pode ser Xango, e tampoco Iemanja. Sinto que não estava quebrada de cabesa.” Sim, de verdade. Tem razão. I wasn’t sure if I should answer their entreaties or play dumb. What can these folks see, really?" I put 2 and 7 together and realized that they must both be Mae’s de Santo. I didn’t conclude then that they were also Senhoras do Boa Morte. The conversation continued on like root canal without anasthesthia.
They were from the Casa Nago Viuduese, (no Jeje) . They both had Iansa. One carried Iemanja, and the other Ogum. The third woman , dressed in blue had been quiet up to now. She interjected that she also had Iemanja and Oxum. Sparks flew between them, in what seemed like a clinical vivisection of Scott.