Meeting with the Representative of the Indigenous people
Breakfast at 7 am and time to draw up a battle plan. The first priority of the day was to visit the ‘secretaria de estado do indio’ for Roraima. Without permission in the form of a permit, we could not visit/sample any site belonging to the indigenous peoples. We therefore turn up ‘on spec’ at 9 am to see the secretary of indigenous affairs not really knowing what to expect. But from the start we were treated with warmth and openness. A very kindly assistant went and called the secretary – this guy speaks for all the communities in Roraima – he is a important person, and was told he would be in to see you in about 30 mins. We were then provided with sweet coffee and water….ok it took until 10 until the man himself arrived but then we found out he had come straight from hospital since he had not been well, and he had still found time to see us.
This guy was so helpful, George explained who we were and what we were doing and I could immediately tell, even though the entire exchange had happened in Portuguese, that here was a guy who was interested and was looking to help us and his communities. He was happy to facilitate our visit and could even tell us the layouts of the village and that one had a possible TPI site (the ultra fertile soil which is a product of the pre-Columbian civilisation. He then asked for his phone so he could mediate with the pilot for us. This was going so well……ok it turned out all the planes were currently grounded because of second plane crash!!! Funny how things turn on a coin. I have to say I would rather the safety check than going up in a plane which may not be safe. However, he was keen to issue us the permit and said for us to call him the next day (Saturday) pick up the permit and check if the planes would fly Sunday – if so we could make the mountain!!
The dream was still alive…..
The rest of the day was spent doing chores: getting the truck clean (wow they did a great job), buying boxes/bags to transport the worms and soil in and finally we had to return the truck to the local EMBRAPA office and collect the samples from the 45 sites that Luis, George and Myrtle had collected before I joined. The cooperation and camaraderie between the brands of EMBRAPA – especially the soil lovers is excellent.
Luis and Gorge are currently packing 45 kg of soil and a rather large alums of soil before heading for dinner. Another full day, let hope the plane can fly Sunday!!