November 16 (Wednesday)
What to do: Creating questions. Bus ticket 3.70 rials.
Accommodation: Staying with CS host Marcos
My new friend
Curitiba is a Brazilian city with many immigrants from European countries and the most from Ukraine. When I heard about it I asked when did the first Ukrainians come here? People say – they came long time ago, at the end of 19th century. Then I said, but Ukraine as a country appeared in 1991 when the Soviet Union was fallen. How did Ukrainians come here if there was not such a country like Ukraine this time? Brazilians (obviously) had no idea. And I decided to find out.
I posted to Russians in Brazil Facebook group if there are any Ukrainians in Curitiba who wants to meet up and talk about history. I got replies from several Russians who were also interested, but 0 replies from Ukrainians. Then I posted to Ukrainians in Curitiba Facebook group the same question. And got 0 replies.
This was clear – there are many Ukrainians in Curitiba and none of them wants to talk about the history. This was getting pretty exciting, I met another Russian girl Sasha and we started the search.
First of all I found 2 Ukrainian organizations here, I called them on the phone to ask if they are opened today and I can talk to someone, but both of the numbers didn’t answer.
Then we found there is an Ukrainian memorial where might be some Ukrainian people. We went there.
Parque Tingui is a huge park inside the city. As Sasha said she hasn’t seen as much green nature in Sao Paulo in a week like in Curitiba in 2 hours! Sasha is a Russian girl who moved to Brazil following her love to Brazilian guy (as usual). Then they broke up (same usual thing), but she has been still living here for a while. Now she decided to make a South American trip and going exactly the same way as me – to Buenos Aires, but in a slightly different timing. Her idea is to stop in each selected city for 1 week, and she moves every Sunday. We will meet again in Florianopolis next week.
Ukrainian memorial was opened in 1995. It is a complex of few buildings which pays tribute to Ukrainian immigrants in Curitiba. And here my curiosity was overloading. Who are these “Ukrainian” immigrants came to Brazil at the end of 19th century? But unfortunately people who work there were born in Brazil, their grand relatives who came here already passed away, and they didn’t help us much with the history.
I came back to google later and this is my summary.
At the middle of 18th century Brazilian government offered good money to bring Europeans into the country. This time western part of Ukraine was under Austria-Vengria Empire. People had pretty bad life, not enough seeding fields, no jobs, no food. No one cared about them cause they were just a territory taken in wars. There were few agencies in Italy who were “hiring” immigrants. People in Western Ukraine were very poor and uneducated, they had no idea where Brazil was. But a nice looking and trustful Italian agents were walking through the poor villages and promising people a good life and prosperity. Italian guys… The salary of the agents depended of amount of immigrants they sent. At the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century thousands of Ukrainian families agreed to leave everything and go for the better life. Ukrainian authorities were worrying that people were leaving, but Austrian government was ok with it (they basically supported it). There were two more emigration waves after first and second world wars.
This is a sad history, not I see why no wanted to talk to me about it. But this is the entire history of Brazil. It was created by bringing here the poorest people to survive.
There is another lovely park with a very similar name Parque Tanguá near by.
Later on we walked around the old town of Curitiba with it’s museums, art galleries, cultural locations, churches, mansions and well preserved houses.
At the evening we went to the German bar to see national dances of European nations. We imagined ourselves as sailors who came here in this city after weeks on a boat, and now sitting in this warm bar hiding from a rainy weather and having a drink. I was thinking how absurd this all is. I’m in Brazil with a Russian friend, in a German bar watching Ukrainian dance danced by Brazilians who are probably Africans or Portuguese in their past.