• Categories
  • Archives

How the Brazil Patajós Taught Me I Needed to Get a Life

The Banker Who Turned to Voodoo In 1969 I played host, along with a couple of anthropologists, to two Indians whose tribe, the Patajós, had been contacted in the southernmost part of the State of Bahia only a couple of years previously.

This was to be their first excursion out of the jungle and in to the big city of Salvador. Some missionaries had already taught them the rudiments of so-called civilized living: how to dress in tee shirt and jeans; the intricacies of the knife and fork; the chair and the table.

But nothing could adequately prepare them for the lift with sliding doors up to the seventh floor. I needed to go and come several times, poking my head out of my window and waving, before they could be enticed into it.

They were frightened of the great height from the window and needed to wash having met new friends. The sight of water coming from the taps left them in a state of utter bewilderment.

One of them said that only that morning ‘our women walked three kilometers and brought us water as always’.

Lunch went off without much of a mishap until the pudding, an oval dish piled high with ice-cream, was set in the center of the table.

This was an unfortunate experiment dreamed up by the anthropologists who wanted to see what their reaction would be to food that clearly was steaming and yet wasn’t hot.

Their reaction was only too predictable and the ice cream delivered a cruel shock to their system. They then went off in a car to look at traffic and swimming pools.

Precisely what the anthropologists got out of all this apart from a cheap thrill at seeing the simple world of the Indian turned upside down in such a brutal way, I do not know.

Naturally I did find meeting and being with the Indians extremely exciting and it was almost certainly this that made me start to think I was wasting too much time on trivialities and that there were other far more important things that demanded my attention.

Link to the book The Banker Who Turned to Voodoo

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+banker+who+turned+to+voodoo&sprefix=the+banker%2Cstripbooks%2C244

Paul Williams was once a naïve but intrepid young man, fresh from university in the 1960s, who took a well-paid banking job in Brazil for which he was ill-suited, at a time when the country hardly figured on the world stage. 

Inspired by Brazil’s rich African heritage and the remarkable powers of voodoo priests to heal the sick, he gave up banking and returned to live as a research student in remote communities, examining how serious illnesses are cured by herbs, flogging and fumigation.

He now divides his time between two converted houses: an old chocolate factory just yards from Winchester Cathedral (England), and a former stone olive mill with an Arab bath in the hills between Granada and Malaga (Spain). In rare moments of repose he fondly remembers being a Housemaster at Winchester College where he taught languages for many years. He has been happily married since 1971.

Tags:

  • Show Comments (4)

  • Mel

    A must-read
    Brilliant – funny, shocking and informative. A must-read for anyone interested in Brazil, Banking or Voodoo. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

  • E-mail marketing

    Fascinating!
    B2B and B2C databases, business and consumer leads http://64er.eu/yourcontactlists/

  • Neriman Kamcili

    Well worth a read
    This is one of the most hilarious, whilst at the same time thought provoking books I’ve read. It has made me look at the contemporary world in a new light. Highly entertaining, highly recommended to all.

  • Ed

    Mr
    Absolutely superb, gripping, fascinating read. You won’t put this down, you’ll learn a lot about Brazil you never imagined possible and you’ll probably ask yourself why you didn’t embark on a similar adventure in your own youth. Enthralling and inspiring. Highly recommended.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil, 5th Biggest Economy by 2015, But Far from Being Developed, Concedes Minister

Brazil’s Finance minister, Guido Mantega, talking to reporters said that Brazil is expected to ...

Brazil to Sell 11.3 Million Tons of Ore to China

Brazilian mining company, Vale do Rio Doce, announced a new contract with the Shougang ...

Brazil’s World Cup Law Guarantees Plenty of Booze and Holidays

Brazil’s 2014 World Soccer Cup law approved yesterday, March 28, by the Brazilian House ...

Brazil-Emirates Maiden Direct Flight Has Brazilians at the Helm

The Emirates airline flight that left Guarulhos International Airport, in São Paulo, on the ...

Red Tape & Bad Education Contribute to Put Brazil in the Back of the Line in IT

The world’s 9th biggest economy, Brazil, is not even among the 60 top countries ...

Bush’s Visit to Argentina and Brazil Shouldn’t Generate More than a Few Generalities on Democracy

American President George W. Bush will confront rising anti-U.S. sentiment and doubts about his ...

European Union Lets Brazil Down

“Below expectations.” That was the initial reaction from Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations (Itamaraty), ...

Emirates Get Brazilian Embraer’s First of Five Lineage 1000 Jets

Embraer, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, delivered the first Lineage 1000 executive jet to company ...

Bus set on fire by organized crime in São Paulo, Brazil

Enough Already of Pretending Brazil Doesn’t Need a Revolution

Enough already of all the cruelty. Of bus passengers burned alive, of young people ...

Industry Jobs in Brazil Grow Again

Following two months of decline, industrial employment grew once again in April, in comparison ...