Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Foot Washing Well in Rio das Ostras

[Original article written by Angel Morote and published here. My translation]

Note the small distance between the stone well and the
Municipal Guard tent. Surveillance of the historical
site did not occur.
Vacationers, tourists and revelers line up to use the historic well.

The historic well of Rio das Ostras is now known as the "Foot Washing Well." Vacationers, tourists and inconsequential revelers use the well, originally from the eighteenth century and located in the Plaza José Pereira Câmara, to wash feet or face, bathe and even to wash their dogs. According to history, the well was built by slaves in the mid-eighteenth century, and was known as the Well of Stones of Largo de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, serving as a landmark for construction of the town of Rio das Ostras. Historical manuscripts say that the well was used by villagers and sailors who crossed the Bay and docked at the pier of morro do Limão [Lemon Mountain], where the Yacht Club is currently located, so the crew could pick up drinking water.

After the completion of the sidewalks at the edge of Praia do Centro in the '90s, the original well was demolished. The Stone Well was rebuilt in 2000 by the city and became a tourist attraction. At that time chains were placed around it for protection.

The mockery of some tourists who took pictures, showing their feet being washed by the stream of water coming out of the bronze bucket, showed lack of respect. Today we find such people at ease without being stopped by the Municipal Guard, which is only about 20 meters away in a tent.
The line to wash feet in the stone well.
Note the difference between two current sights in Rio das Ostras. In the Praça da Baleia, where there is a Guard trailer, we have not seen a single person put their hand in the water that surrounds the famous Humpback Whale. However, in the Plaza José Pereira Câmara where the famous Stone Well is located, which quenched the thirst of the sailors who docked there, people not only put their hands in the water to wash, they even wash their dogs.

The question is: What is the difference between these two assets in question to the municipal government?

"People have no respect for the city. This well used to be well maintained and clean, with its metal plate explaining what it is. I remember it used to have chains surrounding walls, the tourists took pictures of it, and we had guards who took care of the place, and the square as well. Now no one takes care of anything, people wash their feet, bathe with soap and even give dogs baths without being stopped (by the guards), it is shameful ", says a member of the city hall who remains anonymous.

The well is used to wash feet, hands and even dogs.

Today we really see the lack of responsibility and respect from our leaders to curb such actions against public property, and we noticed the little importance given to our artistic and cultural heritage, the importance of which is incalculable, because even the plate with historical information about the well is damaged.

The well is used to wash feet, hands and even dogs. We found a passage written about our own prefecture which caught our attention: "Today, Rio das Ostras, despite being a new city, is recognized throughout Brazil. Primarily for its tourism and cultural potential and, above all, the entrepreneurial vision of its governors. There is no doubt that the city has been building a better future each day, with responsibility. "

Rio das Ostras lost its tourism and cultural potential a long time ago. We cautioned long ago against not only the attitudes taken by people with respect to the Stone Well, but also about children, adolescents and adults using the square to practice skating without any action being taken by men who should take care of our Municipal Public Heritage.

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