One day in 2008, while searching the mountain for a piece of land to grow vegetables, I followed Catuçaba’s little dirt road I had walked past so often. Traffic down this particular road at the time was done on horseback, giving a western air to this remote country. A passerby had mentioned to me the presence of an old house a little further on. Animated by curiosity – and despite the approaching dusk, I continued to the end of the path. When I got there, I immediately felt it: “This is it”, I told myself. The groundskeeper, a man called Luis Pedro Pavret, welcomed me and introduced me to the place as though he had been expecting me for years. At that moment, I felt deep within that I had finally found my place on Earth.
I learned then that the main colonial building of the Fazenda was built by Luis Pedro’s ancestor, a Frenchman from Lyon – like myself – who had come to Brazil in 1840. His great-grandson, a man of incredible vigor and a great builder, dedicated his life to this place and its maintenance with an extraordinary charisma; until November 2021, he took care of it when he suddenly died in the afternoon, aged 82, after having worked in the garden in the morning, exactly the way he would have wanted to say goodbye, his mission accomplished. In these 13 years we’ve spent together I have never seen him without his legendary, forthright smile. We implicitly considered ourselves part of the same family, as we shared the same work and intention.