Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – The Brazilian author Simone Bica launched the book “Diário do Oriente: Percurso de uma alma beduína” [loosely translated as “East Journal: The Journey of a Bedouin Soul”] earlier this year in Rio de Janeiro (photo above) and intends to launch a bilingual version in English and Portuguese later this year for the Arab world. According to the author, who talked to ANBA from Aman, Jordan, the book talks about the Middle East and her journey through Arab lands, immerging in their history, language, habits and customs.
Bica had her first contact with the Arab world when she started studying Arabic with her husband in Switzerland in mid-2015. “My husband is Swiss, we’ve always liked to learn new languages, and we took the Arabic course in German. It was very challenging, and I ended up falling in love with the Arab culture,” she told.
In the same year, Bica made an interchange to study that language in Jordan and stayed at a family’s house in its capital, Aman. “It worked so well they are now my family. I came back sometimes on my own and still stay with them,” she said. She is spending three months in the country and told that besides Jordan, she has visited Oman and the United Arab Emirates. “In the book, most chronicles are about Jordan and one is set in Oman; the UAE ended up not making to the final edition,” she told. Bica wants to visit every Arab country over the next years.
“The book’s intention is to interactively take people in the Arab universe in a light, concise way; it is a travel with me through places, their histories and my true experiences in the universe in order to demystify all sorts of prejudices,” said Bica, who is also a Psychology student. The interactive part of the book is a QR code that allows the reader to have access to videos of Bica’s travels. “I want to show how much we have to learn from and thank this culture,” she added.
The book includes 43 chronicles in 118 pages, set in cities such as Petra, Aman, Madab, Aqaba, and the Dead Sea region. “I wanted to express a latent [need] that was so big it had to be shared. My love for a people and a culture so diverse, so different from mine, but when I’m here in Arab lands, I feel no difference,” she said. “I was afraid [of coming to an Arab country], but my fear was overcame and my soul has found its place; here in Arab lands I’m fully Simone,” she concluded.
Diário do Oriente: Percurso de uma alma beduína
Translated by Guilherme Miranda