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Native Brazilians Share Love, Culture with Houston Neighbors

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Santana

(HOUSTON) – In honor of World Cup soccer, we went looking for Brazil in Houston. And we found it.

Alexander Santana came to Houston from Rio de Janeiro to study English and found a community of his fellow countrymen already in place.

He originally planned to head to England, but there was enough Brazil in Houston to entice him to stay.

People arrive here from other countries and bring their culture. Then if we’re really lucky, they bring their food. Santana brought both.

NEWS 92 FM’s Ross Holland Reports:

See More: World Cup: Get a Taste of Brazil with a Caipirinha Cocktail

He used his passion for cooking to set up two businesses in Pearland: Cater Brazil, that creates dishes for parties or takeout with a Latin flair, and Cakealicious, a pastry shop.

He is executive chef for both companies. And he doesn’t have to go to an exotic place to get his ingredients.

“Most of the time I go to places like Fiesta,” Santana said. “Fiesta’s one of the best places to find Brazilian items.”

What are the items in the pantry that no self-respecting Brazilian would be without?

“One of the things we eat the most is white rice and black beans,” he said.

When Mauricio Campos arrived in Houston from Sao Paulo in the pre-Internet days of 1990, he had to work a little harder then to find his way in the big city.

“I was really really homesick to be honest,” Campos said. “I didn’t know about in Houston, I had no idea if there were Brazilians here or not.”

Even the theme song from the popular American sitcom “Cheers” tugged at his heartstrings.

“That song used to kill me,” Campos said. “Nobody here knew my name, nobody knew who I was.”

Campos started the Brazilian Arts Foundation, which quickly exploded into a place where fellow ex-pats could gather with a common language-and celebrate everything “Brazil.”

Here you can find classes in everything from martial arts to dancing and more. And you don’t even have to be from Brazil to enjoy the life, color and culture of the foundation, Campos says.

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