Saturday, September 17, 2011

Trek Morro da Queimada / Parque das Andorinhas - Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais - 17 de setembro, 2011

I had a tremendous day out... walked up to the Praça Tiradentes (our main square) then met the rest of the people signed up for the ecotour – guides, nice people, a free t-shirt, water and snacks – organized by the Museu / community. About 120 started out… about 50 finished… We walked up past the House of Elizabeth Bishop and up into Morro da Queimada (a tough little neighborhood clinging to the side of the mountain above the city). Where we were met with two guides who are community organizers, who shared the rest fo the journey, with stoops with poetry and history… hiked to the top, into the Parque das Andorinhas, where we were met by the Secretaria Municipal de Meio Ambiente who shared with us the project history – where they are working with the three favelas above Ouro Preto to increase opportunities, work on the environment, save archeological sites, and have created an area 3 times as large as the city to insure clean water. The trees and buildings have come a long way… it’s very exciting. You can really see the destruction caused by the gold mining that ended about 150 years ago… whole mountains were carted away, or just sent down the river, and what is left here is riddled with tunnels, and holes. We in fact had to be careful of shafts as we walked thru the forest… the round tower at the top, was once a Portuguese windmill used to haul gold up from deep inside the mines. The average lifespan of the salves used to do the labor was less than 7 years… over 700,000 people lost their lives bring gold out here… our history is very sad at times… this gold strike, well over 300 years ago, caused a series of dominoes… it probably caused slavery to begin with a vengeance in the America, the gold went on to cause Portugal to wallow in wealth whereby they began buying goods and services from England which was the spark that began the Industrial Revolution.

I really love these projects and offerings by the Museu da Inconfidência (our Smithsonian and Pantheon)- it brings a great group of very poor, middle class and wealthy, and a smattering of tourists together… its great to spend a day with great people.

Campus de UFOP

A capela de São João Batista é o mais antigo templo de Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

House being demolished for old wood, tiles, doors...

House being demolished for old wood, tiles, doors...

No comments:

Copyright 2011 by Daniel C. Orey All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.