My relatives’ (Samuel Giordano and Debora Schisler) home in Goncalves

Samuel Giordano empties the excess water from a paper bag that protects a peach from insects and birds; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012

Samuel Giordano makes churrasco--he cooks a variety of meats over a charcoal fire; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Samuel Giordano and Debora Schisler dance in the living room of their Goncalves home; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

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Vegetarian leader

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Susanna Melo writes about an old friend.

Forty years ago, neither Marly Winkler (center) nor I (left) would have ever imagined our futures.  We would not have guessed either that it would take 40 years for us to get together again, and that our meeting would be in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina. Life has its twists and turns, and it is great when friends reunite after such a long period of time!

How did we find each other?  Well, while I was in Tbilisi, Georgia, I had some time on my hands, so I decided to Google friends from my teenage years in Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul.  I was surprised to find Marly on YouTube being interviewed at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in Denmark, where she talked about the preservation of the Amazon rainforest. I have come to learn that Marly is President of The Vegetarian Society of Brazil and that she has just become the first Latin American President of the International Vegetarian Union, which has been in existence for 103 years. She is also the author or translator of many vegetarian publications.

Marly’s biggest accomplishment for 2012 is the launching of the campaign, “Segunda Sem Carne,” (Mondays Without Meat) in the city of Sao Paulo (20 million inhabitants).  The city’s school system has adopted the idea of no meat on Mondays. Way to go, Marly!

Just another day in paradise

Sisters Susanna Melo and Debora Schisler

Brothers Millard and Kennedy Schisler

Cousins, Christmas 2011, Florianopolis

A family of good storytellers (and listeners)

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

We sat around in a big circle. We pretended that a TV remote was a microphone. Then we “interviewed” each other. “Sam, how did you meet De?” “Melanie, tell us about dumpster diving.” Some of the answers are already known. We’ve heard the stories before, but we want to hear them again. Others are new. This is the first time that Marcelo joined a big family gathering. Same for Nicole. With so much truth flying about, I hope they didn’t get scared 🙂 I hope that all families use their holidays to bond by telling stories, with or without “microphones.”

Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011

Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011

Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011