Welcome to Rio Branco
The next afternoon (Friday afternoon) we left for Rio Branco. Rio Branco is a city of around half a million people and is the capital of one of the newest states in Brazil, Acre (the “Ac” is pronounced like the ack in “Yack” and the “re” is pronounced like “ree” – Ack-ree). It’s a beautiful city, no doubt thanks to a number of good mayors and governors who invested in the city by making real highways, beautiful parks, a nice downtown, etc. It was strange: we were certainly still in the Amazon Basin but with some of the amenities of a 1st world city. Oh Santarém! I would love for this to be true for you as well!
In fact, Rio Branco is one of the cities in Brazil being considered to host matches in the upcoming 2014 World Cup, the Olympics of Soccer! Imagine all the countries of the world coming to the Amazon jungle to play soccer! Amazing.
We were taken to the home of a woman from the local PAZ church, Vanda, and her family who live in a beautiful, closed and secure housing development on the outskirts of town. The development is full of little ponds and huge houses. In fact, the senator from Acre lived in the development as well as the ex-governor.
The house itself was large and we were given our own suite to use. In the back, there was a nice pool that we didn’t use until the retreat was almost over and we had time to relax. It was a huge yard, and reminded me of the beautiful neighborhoods in the States. Vanda and her husband were in banking until they bought the farm, or I should say bought a farm, and began working their dream: ranching! Very neat and interesting couple.