The Lost Generation

A friend passed along this fun parody of the Gangnam Style video.  Thought I’d share it.  For those that don’t read Portuguese, here’s my attempt at the lyrics:

Vu pra Cametá
Vu pra Cametá
Tava numa roça com um trampo meia sola
Passava muita fome
E até pedia esmola
Foi quando a minha sogra que morava
no bengola me arrumou
Um bom emprego que eu achava era uma droga
Era só varrer
Eu desprezei o meu serviço
Que era só varrer
Comprei muamba na fronteira
E vim revender
Na capital, tenho comercio
Para eu vender
Muambeiro lá na barreio
Sou camelo com meu avó
Já fui peixeiro,
Coveiro eu sou,
Vendia Avon,
mais to liso e vou a voltar pro interior.
Vu pra Cametá.
Vu, vu, vu, vu pra Cametá.

Eu tô no barreio.
Vu, vu, vu, vu pra Cametá.
Eu sou muambeiro.
Vu, vu, vu, vu pra Cametá.

Olha só, eu tava na pior.
Morando com minha avó
No meio do gapó!

Eu tô no barreio.
Vu, vu, vu, vu pra Cametá.
Eu sou muambeiro.
Vu, vu, vu, vu pra Cametá.

I’m going to Cametá
I’m going to Cametá
I was in the countryside with a lonely sort of job
I was very hungry most of the time
And I even went begging
When my mother-in-law who lived
in Bengola arranged
a good job for me that I thought was stupid
It was just sweeping
I didn’t value my job
Which was just sweeping
I bought cheap contraband on the border
And came back to re-sell it
In the capital, I do business
Black marketeer in the ‘hood
I’m a mule along with my grandfather.
I’ve been a fishmonger,
I’m a gravedigger,
I sold Avon,
but I’m broke, so I’m going back inland.
I’m going to Cametá.
I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m going to Cametá.

I’m in the ‘hood.
I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m going to Cametá.
I’m a black marketeer.
I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m going to Cametá.

Just look, I was in the worst sort of situation
Living with my grandmother
In the middle of the swamp!

I’m in the ‘hood.
I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m going to Cametá.
I’m a black marketeer.
I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m going to Cametá.

See? Very fun. For me, behind all the silliness is a raw fact: this happened A LOT. In some ways it is the story of Brazil’s interior.

We lament here amongst our friends here that there’s no place to go in the evenings. There used to be–bars, restaurants, even a disco in this small town, a movie theater in the next town over. They all closed. Why? A large part of it is because a decade ago an entire generation left. My husband and his peers all left in their early 20’s for the big cities: São Paolo, Belo Horizonte, Rio, and for the exterior: the United States, Spain, Italy. What was left was a gutted city. With no young customers to fuel the commerce the center of town withered, and it’s still trying to bounce back. What’s the nickname for the nearby town of Governor Valadares? Vala-dolares (translation: its’ worth in dollars), just because so many youth were overseas and sending dollars back home.

The holiday traffic between our region and São Paolo is amazing. The road that we travel from our farm into town usually has light traffic–some trucks, a few cars. Two days before Christmas I sat and waited for a line of thirty-eight cars–thirty-eight, not even counting the trucks–filed by before I got an opening to pull out of our driveway into transit. All of them had out-of-state plates.

We see it in the markets too. During the holidays prices on locally-made comfort foods–requeijão, pão de quijo, bisquoitos, doce de leite, etc.–skyrocket around the holidays because all the Paulistas stockpile presents to bring back to the city. Four of my bottles of jabuticaba liquor have already been packed into tourists’ luggage and are making their grand debut in the Big City.

This lost generation is returning as Brazil’s economy betters. They’re trickling back in ones and twos. But some found lives elsewhere in the intervening decade, started families, found good jobs and urban lifestyles they can’t or don’t want to leave. Those like us who have returned are now in a different place. Now in our mid-to-late 30’s, we’re not going to be the ones to stay out all night at the clubs (although maybe we’ll be the generation to re-invest and re-open them). The job of creating the new energy for the city falls to our nieces and nephews. I watch them giggle about going out to meet friends for ice-cream and daydream about what this town might look like in another ten years.



    • I have been trying to attain that yogurt recipe. I got all the ingredients to give it a try and then realized that my new(ish) oven had no lightbulb in it. Sigh. Slow progress! We´ll get there eventually, maybe in time for the next harvest 🙂

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