Into the wild green yonder

This year the juniors of Graded had the opportunity to choose where to travel, with options such as diving at Ilha Grande or visiting Patagonia. However, a daring few chose to go somewhere a little bit more exotic, the Amazon rainforest. There they participated in a myriad of activities such as visiting the Manaus Opera house, sleeping on a boat, swimming with wild botos (the pink river dolphins) or fishing the massive pirarucu. They also interacted with a ribeirinho community while being led by Seu Manuel, who has lived in the community for more than 40 years.

The goal was to take students out of their comfort zones, to show them that there are different ways of living and different forms of seeing the world, and they got to see that. Amaral Cunha, one of the teachers leading the trip, shared an “essential question” he proposed to his students. He told them that throughout the trip they should compare the concrete jungle we live in with the real jungle: to examine the struggles, the dreams, the fears that we have as human beings who live in an urban setting and compare it to the struggles and dreams of the people who live in Amazon. We might be looking for the same thing but still have very different methods of achieving what we are looking for.

In Amaral’s eyes, that goal was achieved. Travel is, after all, not only about crossing physical borders, but mental ones, too.