Eating together – S l o w Food mood . . .
I can still feel the wonderful smell of the humid wood burning over the wood stove mixed with the freshness of the forest, the unforgettable flavour of that simple meal, hearing the wood cracking in the fire and surrounded by the silence and sometimes by the sound of the rain in the forest, and - my dad telling me: "Léo, listen always, even to the silence" -.
Ms. Maria and Mr. José had always that quiet and focused look, watching deep inside. It was amazing when they cooked that delicious dish made of beans, rice, local "minas cheese" and cabbage: "angú" (traditional dish in Minas Gerais) all with a cup of that fresh milk - not that we had in the city, mixed with water - and they always took the pan with boiling water directly with their hands without any protection from the wood stove... and the pans were all metal. Sometimes they stood up with the pan in their hands and peacefully, like they used to do everything, talked to me for a while.
Inmersed in such a special and magical energy, I remember José telling me: "Léo, the land provides and re-provides everything over and over, do treat land carefully Léo. Nothing worths more than nature". José kept all the forests as they had always been, untouched, and did not permit anyone to touch them in any way neither to hunt there. Deers, wild bears, jacús - a wild chicken, guará wolves - Brazilian wolf in danger of extinction, lots of diferent birds, panthers... etc.
I managed to reach a kind of agreement with my parents so to be involved and actively participate in projects in the area only during my free time once daily school and University obligations were done; the condition was to do well at school and then at University. I did my University while working in a multinational company in downtown Rio and then in Sao Paulo. I was putting up an international professional career in multinationals... but that seed from the forests was day by day, germinating strong inside me. Once I got back to work with poor communities, with people owning nothing material but lots of feelings, rich in values and wisdom, that very day and from then on, I do strongly believe what the world is needing.