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Tanka team member Mark Kenneth Tilsen with Brazilian translators
Kimmi, Mariana and Marilla.

Tanka team member learns Portuguese,
enjoys the locals in Brazil

By Mark Kenneth Tilsen, Jr.

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I have been having a great time in San Paulo, Brazil, for the SIAL Brazil International Food Show.

The Brazilians we meet are smart, affluent, cultured and are willing to try Tanka Bars. They like the taste and say things like, "Ehhh in Brasil, this is not common, mixing fruits and meats." Neither in America! We are the first all natural, meat-based energy bar and we are proud of it.

The convention center north of Sao Paulo is about an hour in traffic from the Jardins neighborhood where we're staying for SIAL.

One would think this far south people would love spicy foods but not so. Our Tanka Bar Spicy has a subtle pepper to it -- you only feel any warmth as you finish the bar. The Tanka Wild Spicy has a pronounced kick that opens your eyes after one bite and has me waving my hands over the samples before people try with the disclaimer: muito apimentado!" which means "very spicy" in Portuguese. Farther north in Bahia the food is spicier but the Paulistanos seem to prefer a more savory palate. Who knew?

Ana Paulo was selling olives across the way from me but did not smile much. I traded her a Tanka Bar for a smile and she said, "I am not very serious, just shy and no one is in my booth to visit. Thank you very much for the food."

Oddly, there are few companies at the event that have their health food benefits displayed, which is something I have grown accustomed to at other international food shows. There are acai fruit drinks and sweet pudding but without the exclamations of "high in anti-oxidants" or "the new super food." Mariana, one of our translators, say they can't call acai a super food because they eat it every day. I wonder if Superman never took his cape off, would people call him "man?"

Everywhere we have travelled, there are always people interested in American Indians and this is no exception. I got to happily celebrate the wiping out of Custer on the anniversary of the Little Big Horn with Brazilians stopping by our booth. Yes, yes, I know I'm in the U.S. Trade pavilion and we don't have a Lakota Nation international trading group, yet, but I still let Lakota pride out.

The language is coming along and is easy enough to learn for some of our talking points: Canne de boof'alo = buffalo meat, all-natural; pocu souj = low sodium; muytay soud'ovil = very healthy; pimenta = spicy. Our translation team is teaching me some talking points as well as translating part of our story.

The next day is going to be busier and I am going to need to keep on my toes.

MKT - out

MORE: Read Mark's account of his first day in Brazil where he shares his thoughts on buffalo and sustainability here: Reflecting on sustainability and the buffalo at
the SIAL Food Show in Brazil

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