Taking a break from his fieldwork, Hermes is picture here in Icuriã, Assis (Brazil)
By Heather Walker
ROME — Lay Centre scholar Bruno Hermes De Oliveira Santos ventured into unknown territory when he left Rome for the Amazon rainforest in Brazil to carry out fieldwork for his doctoral research.
Despite being Brazilian, Hermes admitted he knew little about the reality of this vast region until he arrived.
He said that he found the exuberance of the biome fascinating and the local people welcoming, with their disarming smiles and hopeful hearts.
The Amazon is among the most diverse territories on Earth. It is home to 2,779,478 indigenous people, comprising 390 indigenous tribes and 137 indigenous tribes in voluntary isolation, each with their own valuable ancestral traditions. This region has 240 spoken languages belonging to 49 linguistic families.
“Still in an exploratory phase, I embrace this fieldwork as an opportunity to consolidate my training in social sciences and to build solid foundations in the field of ethnographic research,” Hermes said.
Hermes said the support he received from the Society of Jesus in the Amazon region was vital in making his research possible, including in Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas.
Lay Centre staff and scholars kept in touch with Hermes while he was in the Amazon, thanks to modern communications technology.
Hermes, who is from Alfenas, Minas Gerais, Brazil, hopes to return to Rome in the spring.