18 March 2015

Rio Verde, Goias

It's been about two weeks that I'm in Rio Verde and things are coming together really well.

I arrived two weeks ago. I stayed in a hotel for a week and I've been couch surfing since then. If you don't know couch surfing it's exactly what it sounds like, except sometimes there's a real bed. I couch surfed for a month during my pre-dissertation research in Brazil in 2012 and enjoyed it a lot. This has been nice too. It's easy in a hotel to be caged away from the real world, but couch surfing is a much better way to  meet people and get a feel for the area and the country. It's also so much homeyer and just feels more comfortable than a hotel. I'll be moving into a more permanent apartment next week where I will stay with a young professor here.

The town has felt a lot more comfortable than Luis Eduardo did in that there are more paved roads, more coffee shops for me to work at, more plazas, parks, and trees. It just feels more like a real city.

I've been spending most of my time arranging lodging, getting registered as a resident, and finding a motorbike. Arranging interviews has been a low priority at this point. I have been able to get lodging mostly settled and more recently I have come to an agreement to buy a moto, hopefully picking it up later today. Registering has been less successful, I traveled to Jatai (about an hour by bus) to register and they told me I needed additional documentation so I will return later this week. It was honestly expected that I wouldn't get this settled in one trip. It's only frustrating because I have to leave town and it becomes a day long endeavor. I'm relatively confident I'll get it squared away on my next trip, probably Friday this week.

Besides that, I've been able to meet a lot of people who have connections with Mennonites or with other contacts who are of interest to the study. It's been a lot easier to find interviewees in Rio Verde than in Luis Eduardo. Only problem is I need a moto to do much. I was invited to a friend's fazenda just yesterday and it was really quite interesting. The difference between his farm and what I'm used to seeing in Luis Eduardo is striking. Farms are much smaller here, more diverse (having livestock, pasture), and are much hillier. Farmers also seem to have less expensive machinery or rent machinery altogether. I'll be digging into these difference, the reasons for the differences, and their effects on U.S. migrant farmers here over the next few months.

In summary, everything's fine here, don't worry.

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