Friday, September 15, 2006

Interview with a Peregrina from the Brazil: Isabel


(Isabel is the cool dudette with the shades in the middle)

1. Why Caminho de Santiago?

I don't know the answer to that ... I'm sorry. I've been thinking about this question and it's a difficult one for me. I just wanted walk the camino. Maybe it's because Santiago called me. I needed it, so I went!!! And It was the most beautiful experience for me. Today, I am a new person because of that.

(Don't worry, you don't really need a reason. In the movie, Forrest Gump just decided to start running across the US many times without a reason. It was his camino, and he gives no reason for it either. -ed)

2. Where did you hear about the Caminho?

The motivations that take the pilgrims to cover the way are varied. Between the Brazilians, the interest appeared with the bestseller from Pablo Coelho: "O Di├írio de um Mago", 1987. I did not read the book, but without a doubt, it has motivated many to make the Way. On the other hand, they say that the "it is you who gives the way the dimensions" and that “everybody that makes the journey searched for their own transformation, either personal or professional".

3. What have you gain from this experience?

One extraordinary experience of my life. The reflection, auto knowledge, adventure, religious… impossible not to leave "transformed".

4. I noticed that Brazilian constitute the biggest group of pilgrims outside Europe, with maybe Canadians from Quebec. Why is that so?

Mainly I think it is from Pablo Coelho's book. In Brazil, there are some associations (17 in the whole country) to help and inform pilgrims on the Way. I first encountered it via a news article on the television and got interested. I participated in the meetings and made preparation for the Way. I have notice of that the Brazilians, together with the Spaniard, Frenchmen, forms one of the biggest groups of pilgrims. I know that the average number of Brazilians walking the camino monthly consist of more than 150 pilgrims. When I made the Way in May/06 I found about 40 Brazilians in Santiago in the weekend I arrived. I organized a meeting in front of Cathedral that Sunday. I do not know what it takes for the Brazilians to make the Way: religious, mysticism or perhaps combination with the tast of adventure.

The Brazilians do not possess an ethnic identity, we are a mixture of many races.

(Very true. I was mistaken for a Brazilian by another Brazilian on the first day of my camino. Me, an Asian guy. No one from Europe will ever make that assumption. -ed)

The only thing that identifies us, beyond the language is that we are courageous. We share a common slogan: "I AM BRAZILIAN AND I NEVER EVER GIVE UP"

(Woohoo! Yeah! Makes me want to do the Samba ... if only I know how -ed)

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