The remaining part of the first Brazilian inhabitants, the indigenous living in Patiburi village, located in Belmonte, Southern region of Bahia state, are celebrating the electric energy arrival in the community. The works, carried out by Neoenergia through is distributor, Coelba, were completed in March, benefiting 25 families from the Tupinambá people and enables the functioning of a basic education school serving about 30 children living in the community.
For bringing energy to the location, 256 poles were installed, as well as medium and low voltage networks and seven transformers. The initiative is a part of the Luz para Todos Program (LPT) of the Federal Government, executed by the concessionaire in Bahia, which borne 35% of the costs. The Mines and Energy Ministry sponsors 65% of the total investment.
The program is an accelerator of the electric energy service universalization in the country, with the purpose of enabling the arrival of the service to distant rural locations. In Bahia, Coelba has been advancing towards providing energy to the entire state, which covers an area of over 560,000 km² and is the fifth in the country based on territorial extension. In 2019, 73 cities were universalized and the full universalization in the state is expected for 2021.
Original inhabitants of Brazilian lands before the arrival of colonizers, the tupinambás preserve characteristics of the ancestors, like the cultivation of food. In Patiburi village, they plant cassava, used in flour production, and raise cows for milk production, which is sold to the dairies of the region. With electric energy arrival, the Flour House production increased from two 50-kg sacks per day of hand-made flour, to two sacks per hour, using the electric furnace. “Previously, the flour had to be manually passed through the roaster, and now we use motorized pallets, which, in addition to increasing the output, also improves the flour quality as a result of the right furnace temperature", says the Chief Cátia.
Tupinambás were the first indigenous population found in this region of Brazilian coast. They occupied a long territorial band in Brazilian coast, covering since the Northern Coast of São Paulo state, and reaching Amazonas river, the Recôncavo Baiano region, São Francisco river's mouth, Maranhão and Pará. In Bahia, they live today in areas at the South of the state, such as Belmonte and Ilhéus.
The electric energy arrival at the village, in addition to expanding the operation of the Flour House and enabling the mild storage in refrigerators, allowed the connection of an artesian well, ensuring the water quality and health of the indigenous community. “We previously used to drink the water from the cistern and recorded a high level of verminosis. The light means not only the lamps inside the houses, it means subsistence and quality of life", says Chief Cátia, who also emphasizes that now children may have access school meal provided by the Belmonte municipality that was previously dismissed due to the impossibility of storage in refrigerators. “This is a 100% change in the life of the village", concludes the Chief.