Abadia is a land of people knowledgeable about prayers, Three Kings’ Day parties, cantigas de roda, and making bread and cookies in a wood-burning oven. Abadia is a land of timeworn houses, of lightning bugs so sociable they land on your fingers and nose. It’s a place where making wooden cars, creatures made of fruit, rag dolls, tops made of fruit pits, having sing-alongs, and slinging rocks at birds have always existed.
Some six years ago, while passing by the Jequitinhonha Vaelly, we visited Abadia. We knew this was one of many communities that make up the Casinhas de Cultura Program, which we learned about from the educator Adelsin. Casinha de Cultura, a project done in partnership with local groups since the 90s and a part of the Christian Fund for Children, fosters the appreciation of local cultures. We really wanted to learn about this project and picked this place to visit. It was quite a meeting.
With The Territory of Play project, we decided to revisit the friends we made there and deepen our research on children’s games in Abadia, which now has about 300 inhabitants and is a rural community in the municipality of Carbonita (about 80 miles from the town of Diamantina).
We played with the children at the school, at Casinha de Cultura, under trees, in the river, in our yard, in the town square, on the hill, learning and teaching games in this intense exchange of knowledge.
During our visit we screened some films at the church and in our yard, inviting children and adults to share what we have seen in our hunt for children’s games.
During our stay in Abadia the journalist Eliza Capai visited us in order to film images of The Territory of Play team in action for a documentary about the project, airing on TV Futura in October 2013. To watch, click here or on the video below.
We would like to thank everyone in Abadia who hosted us with so many cookies, homemade requeijão, and delicious cloth-filtered coffee, but we want to give special thanks to our old friends Aparecida and Luciana, who worked so hard to have us.
Text and photos: Renata Meirelles