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Brazil - Project BIRA (Children's Games in the Amazon Region)

Boy playing with traditional top in northern Brazil
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Boy throwing a top he carved out of a Guava tree branch. This is in a Wapichana Indian community near Boa Vista (photo by Renata Meirelles).


Streetplay is proud to showcase the work of Renata Meirelles and David Reeks of Project BIRA (Brincadeiras Infantis do Região Amazônica, translated, Children's Games in the Amazon Region). The following notes give an overview of their recent experience and the goals of their work.

Project BIRA is a cultural interchange that investigates, practices, shares, and spreads the way children play in the north of Brazil.

This project is totally focused on games that are carried out by children, in areas where spontaneity is the principal means of communication and where the forest and its embellishments are the source for materials and challenges that motivate a diverse range of actions. These actions are easily recognized by parents, grandparents, and ancestors who play along in some form, even if it's only through a look that conveys the recognition: "Ahhh, I know how to play that."

We recall a little top made from a tucumã seed, painstakingly cut and drilled by children of the Galibi (from Oiapoque) and the Wapichanas (from Roraima). Its spin generates a fascinating scream that can be heard from afar, and it is at least one example of how games open paths that don't deplete the pleasure and beauty of one's actions, while leaving conversation open with the cultural, historical and social dialects of each people's tradition.

More about Project BIRA (Children's Games in the Amazon Region)


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