Weekend visitors. A ‘wild’ weekend…


Expecting a quiet weekend, we suddenly had an influx of visitors – friends and relatives and wildlife too! It was the end of the ‘winter’ holiday period, when schools and other public organisations close down for a couple of weeks. Flexibility is the catchword at this time because the weather can be what would be called ‘cold’ here or it can be quite warm, so people don’t necessarily plan too far ahead. Indeed, one day last week even I felt a little bit cool and had to put a sweater on one evening! I think the temperature managed to get as low as 14 degrees Celsius (Brrrr!!)

On Friday, however, it was a balmy 25o C  and several times during the week we had been for a long walk on the beach, so were planning another walk when we had incoming calls asking if we were home to visitors. So the walk was postponed for us to ensure the house was in order. Since none of the visitors had seen the house since it had been extended we had to make sure that everywhere was fit for inspection and there was a little bit of “stuffing bits in cupboards”, rather than “putting things away neatly”. The friends arrived in time for a meal on Friday evening and the cousins from Macuco were invited over for a barbecue on Saturday afternoon, so we have ended up eating more than we bargained for. Ah well – that’s life!

The swimming pool was in use by the children present, although the water was judged to be a bit cool! But not bad for ‘mid-winter’ (July being the equivalent to the month of January in the northern hemisphere of course!!)

The arrival of cousins from Macuco – I think I had only previously met one of the five cousins visiting – caused us to discuss genealogy, one of my interests which has been on the back-burner for a while. I discovered that quite a large proportion of Macuco is now part of my extended family, related by marriage. Because families were still having large numbers of children until a generation ago; and because Macuco is distant from large cosmopolitan areas; and because rural poverty meant relatively low levels of mobility, marriages tended to be localised.

So, even though I met five cousins-by-marriage over the weekend there are MANY more to meet…. A figure of 40% of the population of Macuco was mentioned as being in some way related through various marriage links, which means that my extended family recently increased by at least 1800 people!? Wow (in Portuguese… uau!… pronounced wow!) So, we had a collective remembering session where I took notes which then made it onto the computer for the beginnings of a genealogy chart for Fatima’s family (and now my extended family, of course, too).

This in turn, led to (as always!) further questions which Fatima’s mother was later enrolled to try and answer. Some were answered but it also brought to light the following family tale, which Fatima had never heard before.

Fatima’s mum’s grandfather (are you following this OK? There may be questions later!) was the son of a family of Portuguese extraction and was born in Minas Gerais. This fact alone suggests his forebears came to Brazil some time before 1822, the year Brazil became independent…this is because most of the Portuguese in the Minas Gerais area would have come to mine gold which was then to be taken back to Portugal… a practice which was stopped, of course, on Brazil’s independence!

So, back to GG Basilio’s childhood. We don’t know his age for sure but it seems likely he was born several years before 1870 but possibly after 1860. For some reason his father had moved the family from Minas Gerais, some 500 kilometres south to Macuco, so GG Basilio was brought up in Macuco which is a small rural town, perhaps even a village at that time. Anyway, in the way that children do, he happened to be digging a hole for fun and came across some bones which were apparently human bones.

There was apparently someone with him who was either a slave or he had been a slave, the details are a bit sketchy, but this person’s advice to GG Basilio was to “say nothing, or there would be trouble…” but, again, it is not clear exactly what trouble or for whom! But the inference is that GG Basilio had uncovered the burial of a slave or slaves who had probably been beaten. He must have said something or the story would not have come down the family line but who he told and what the outcome was we don’t know.

What we do know is that when his first wife died he then married Edwirge who was the daughter of a slave, although because she was born after 1871 when the law said that children of slaves would be free from birth, she was born free. Her mother and father would have become free after 1888 when slavery was abolished here in Brazil.

That’s enough genealogy for now, because I want to mention the other visitors we had on Saturday for the barbecue. These visitors, too, normally live further north in Brazil but seem to have established themselves around the Saquarema area and are now protected by Brazil’s Ambiental laws (that’s Environmental laws to you and me) even though they are strictly intruders. I am talking about small Marmoset monkeys.

There were about half a dozen in a tree across the road from us. I say “about” because I never saw more than four at any one time but just judging from their positions when I did see them I am pretty sure there were more than four! They did move very quickly, though, so I could be mistaken. They seemed to enjoy the banana they were given…for proof, see the picture below. I think they were Wied’s Marmosets but am open to correction…?

If you want to read about their genealogical curiosity of “Chimerism”, have a look at the Wikipedia entry for them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wied%27s_marmoset – fascinating. Enjoy!!


Marmosets enjoying a banana at our brabecue


About Keith Melton - Green Lib Dem

Retired English liberal environmentalist living in Nottinghamshire; spent six years in Brazil. Author of Historical Novel - Captain Cobbler: the Lincolnshire Uprising 1536. Active member of the Green Liberal Democrats - (pressure group in Liberal Democrats) - was Founding Chair of GLD in 1988
This entry was posted in Brazil General, Environment & Sustainable Development, Food and stuff, Genealogy, Wildlife and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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