Bewitching Brazil

A little reggae, marimba music, some samba and soccer… and of course Shakira’s haunting melody from the FIFA world championship… ‘Brazil, lalalalala’. The word ‘Brazil’ comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew in abundance along the Brazilian coast. Brasilia is the capital of this largest South American country, which is fifth largest in the world. Its most famous and populous city is Sao Paulo. A soccer-crazy nation, it is also called the Land of the Holy Cross, a name given by its former Portuguese colonists, as it is home to “Christ the Redeemer”, one of the seven wonders of the world. However, before colonisation, the natives called their country Pindorama.


Brazilians are highly energetic, warm-hearted and joyful people, and they get to dance ball and play music at a young age. My Rotarian friends from RID 4680, Brazil, came at midnight with the Indian flag to receive me at the airport as I was representing RI President Shekhar Mehta. In the course of the next one week, I learnt that language cannot be a barrier in building friendship. As RIPR, it was overwhelming to receive the ‘Scroll of Honor’ from two beautiful cities, Canela and Gramoda, both scenic hill resorts.

RI Director Mahesh Kotbagi and Amita with Rotarians at Canela.
RI Director Mahesh Kotbagi and Amita with Rotarians at Canela.

Amazon forests are scattered across the country with craggy mountains and long sandy beaches attracting thousands of tourists; while the culinary hubs tickle our taste buds with cocoa, coffee, chocolates and grills. Nei Coutinho, a young-hearted man of 81 years, assisted me during my entire visit. A sumptuous Italian feast by PRID Mario Cesar Martins De Camargo, along with many senior leaders, made that great evening memorable. We often say ‘cheese’ while taking pictures. Brazilians don’t need that prompting as they are ever smiling, happy souls.

The writer is an RI Director

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