Apparently, I’m trans ethnic. Because I feel Brazilian, and people assume I’m not American when I’m abroad, I leaned in like Rachel Dozeal and claimed Afro Brazilian ancestry in Ecuador. LOL. What actually happened is that, my Spanish (the second language I learned) has been transformed in Portuguese ( the third language I speak). So when I went back to Ecuador and visited my friends in Esmereldas, everyone was like “You’re so Brazilian now!” Luckily, the languages are similar, and honestly, I’ve always spoke a mixture of the two. I spent about a month in Ecuador, filming with a person I deeply admire, Bani Amor a dope ass travel writer and good friend.
As well as catching up with play cousins on the coast. Now, I’m thinking of returning an making a documentary about the black Ecuadorian experience. As I only spent a weekend there, I just wasn’t prepared to add an episode specifically about ESM to this season’s GLOWINGPAIN travel series. But there is always next year. But I did manage to take some cool portraits of friends. It’s been three whole years since I first visited ESM and somethings changed, and others didn’t.
My Ecuadorian mom Betty Veliz, is still just as beautiful as ever.
The amazing Henna Brown told me the story behind her burns, and it fuels my desire to learn more about environmental justice. The kids have all grown up, everyone is tall and acne ridden, it’s surreal.
If I’m Brazilian, I’m Ecuadorian too, because ESM always feels like visiting family, and I’ll be sure to be back sooner than 3 years. There’s so much to do!