One thing which makes Trancoso unique is the passion with which local youth embrace their cultural heritage. They play traditional instruments and sing old songs, they enjoy the regional dance forms, and they love to play capoeira.
Born in Bahia of African slaves (4-million of whom were brought to work in Brasil), capoeira is a martial-arts like style of dance performed in groups with musical accompaniment. Its basis is not competition, but an expression of joy, unity and strength.
Trancoso’s branch of the famed academy, Capoeira Sul da Bahia, is led by a caring, committed professor named Diney Lima. Since 2006 sponsorship by UXUA has helped Diney guarantee that local children can study regardless of ability to pay tuition.
Today hundreds of youth participate, and the school's roda - public exhibitions - on Trancoso's Historic Quadrado and the beach are legendary. UXUA's relationship with Capoeira Sul Da Bahia has few boundaries, its professors visit the hotel to teach guests (100% of lesson cost is donated to the school), guests join in free public classes with local youth, and UXUA hosts professors from all over the world every 2-years during Capoeira Sul da Bahia's international congress.
UXUA has long pushed for international awareness of capoeira, and actively campaigned for its recognition by UNESCO, which came on 26 November 2014 with the sport granted special protected status as an "intangible cultural heritage of humanity".
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime. And so might UXUA's guests....
We've always loved that Trancoso's native fishermen continue their trade in a traditional, environmentally sustainable manner.
Roughly 100 fishermen from 30 families go out on local waters in ten small, wooden boats. They fish with 'line in hand', instead of using fishing rods. And nets are brought out only in April, with small hand nets (tarrafas) tossed directly from the beach to snare Tainha, a seasonal delicacy.
These methods and local sourcing are totally consistent with UXUA's values, so we buy all we can use directly from these fishermen, including Vermelho, Ariacò, Cavala, Atum, Dourado, Agulhao, Badejo. We also loan tools, provide wood for boat repairs, and anything else we can to support them (including offering the occasional refreshment from UXUA Prai Bar, which has always been the firshermen's gathering spot on the beach in Trancoso).
In 2014 UXUA was founding sponsor of the Fishermen's Association of Trancoso (Associação dos Pescadores de Trancoso). with an objective to guarantee a future for traditional fishing by introducing fun, hands-on teaching programs for local youth.
We respect all givers, but reserve a special admiration for those who give that most limited, finite commodity: their time.
In September 2010 Kelly Fernanda Paduin began organizing and teaching local children classes in theater, dance and painting, plus instruction in English and French, valuable for opening opportunities for work in the tourism industry.
The mix of culture and career instruction was a big hit, and before long Kelly was recruiting volunteers from the community to teach not only children but also teens and adults. Associação Despertar Trancoso was formally created, and today has 150 students enrolled in classes in the arts and career skills development focusing specifically on sustainable tourism.
While Despartar now has 3 full-time employees, the majority of its classes are taught by 17 volunteer teachers, sharing their skills and knowledge first-hand in a very pure expression of community.
Kelly’s goal is that Despartar can become a model across Bahia and Brazil for grass-roots charity, letting others enjoy the rewards of giving back socially on a human level, through teaching. UXUA will support Kelly's project every way we can.