Amazônia through the eyes and easels of its youth

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Clau looking down and over the river bank with Arapixuna behind her.

Tudo bem, Sarah, tudo bem? How are you? Tudo bem” my co-teacher Clau laughed as I stumbled over the grammatical differences between tudo bem and tudo bom. Language lessons were a way of life for the week I visited Arapixuna in April. Partly because I filled my evenings listening to scientists and students around me chatter in crescendos and decrescendos, the foundations of Brazilian Portuguese. And partly because I filled my days conversing with 5th graders about the world’s largest river and rain forest. Managing the chaos of field trips, science demos and art classes for 46 young learners, sometimes all I could say was “tudo bem”, the famously succinct and casual phrase for “all is well”.

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“We are not drowning, we are fighting”: Pacific Islanders want you to know that they still have hope for their islands

This past weekend, I was on a discussion panel for the documentary film Anote’s Ark, which follows the former present of Kiribati, Anote Tong, in his quest to bring the plight of Kiribati’s people in the face of climate change to the western eye. This sounds harmless enough, but since the film was released a new president was elected, the filmmaker was banned from entering the country, and the Kiribati ambassador to the United States attempted to prevent the film from showing at Sundance Film Festival (this is according to the filmmaker, you can read his take here). Continue reading