1 Mar

Memories of a day in Mazagan: receptivity and good faith of the community.

In March we had adventure in Mazagan – four students and two professors at the Federal University of Amapa decided to go into the rainforest toward a city hitherto known only in books and make a trip full of discoveries, surprises and delights… Leaving Macapa, Amapa, and after a journey about an hour and a half of road, sometimes paved sometimes not, passing for barges that help the river crossing, for concrete bridges and also in wood, and going into the Amazon rainforest, reaches to Mazagan, a town situated on the banks of the river Mutuacá, unparalleled cultural wealth, of simple people and loving, ready to receive visitors interested in learning the rhythms, songs, dances and the fascinating history of the site.

Images of the trip until reaches to Mazagan.

The Vila of Mazagan was first installed in Morocco, in the early sixteenth century, behind a goal Portuguese politician, and became a majestic fort, the target of conflict between the Portuguese and Muslims. Time passed, and it was unfavorable to maintain Mazagan in Africa, for this reason, the whole Vila was transferred to Lisbon. It is also during this period that happens across the Atlantic the colonization of the Amazon, a fact that was required the installation of families there. The solution was to transfer Mazagan to Brazil. Then in 1770, is founded Mazagan Amazon, to house the families of Portuguese settlers along with their slaves. However, in the late eighteenth century, the village is stricken by an epidemic, the few survivors decided to leave and slowly the forest was hiding Mazagan Amazon, been recently discovered some ruins from that time.

Mazagan is a place where the Amazon beauty is impressive, however, another fact that call attention was the very receptive community living there. In the first moments is already accepted by all and it is noted that the community is intimate history of the city, which makes it relatively easy to find someone willing to show the city and tell a little history of the place. We know then the teacher Vera – a descendant of slaves that came with the Portuguese families – and biggest connoisseurs of the trajectory of Mazagan, who offered to show and tell all she knew about the city.

Teacher Vera telling histories of Mazagan during the city tour.

Walking through Mazagan, teacher Vera showed the main points of the city, one of them is the Saint James Church – it is worth noting that the public has an intense religious affection and annually throughout the history of Mazagan is revived through the feast of Saint James – there the balneary that is used for community leisure and practice of fish, and also has the oldest house of the town – the only one remnant of the original house built for the Portuguese families. Teacher Vera told the many stories that involve the establishment of Mazagan and showed some of the customs inherited from ancestors mazaganenses, like the songs and dances, in addition, she delighted us singing in the rhythm of Marabaixo – rhythm that brought by African slaves – songs that also explain in an exciting way the history, culture and traditions of mazaganenses. And all this cultural richness is largely passed on from generation to generation, to occur more and more dissemination and appreciation of local culture.

01 – Saint James Church; 02 – Mazagan balneary; 03 – Fishermen returning of the fishery; 04 – The oldest house of Mazagão.

Going ahead through the city, we met Mr. Miguel, owner of the small shop that sells açaí-berry wine and bacaba juicy, he is so popular in town, and seems to be always ready to help the tourists that visit Mazagan. Mr. Miguel prepared and served his delicious products when we met him. After that, his neighbor, which has the only, restaurant in the town, offered us a big lunch. Then, we participated of the course “Marabaixo Roots”, a workshop that consisted in the preparation of Marabaixo drums in natura, all with the goal of expanding the culture of mazaganenses to all interested parties.

Inauguration of the course “Marabaixo Roots” with a lot of dance and music.

Faith, belief and customs of Mazagan can be experienced throughout the year in the many celebrations that occur in the community. The value that people give to their history and culture, and the greeting that all provide to visitors is truly remarkable. Actually, what is found and what is takes to visit Mazagan is the culture that went through continents, crossed the ocean and still lives in the customs of the inhabitants. Meet Mazagan is to enrich cultural and spiritual – and do not leave town without taking in mind the sounds of the drums of the Marabaixo and willingness to always go back to discover something more of this jewel found in the rainforest.

Bibliographical References

VIDAL, Laurent. Mazagão, a cidade que atravessou o Atlântico: do Marrocos à Amazônia (1769 – 1783). Martins Editora Livraria Ltda., São Paulo. 2008.


pisisbums 26/7/2011 - 14h 08

very interesting, thanks

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