Vernon resident, Nara Straw, facing police and enormous medical costs after tragic accident in Brazil.

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This web-site has been published to provide information on the case of Vernon resident Nara Straw. Nara is suing Real Expresso, (a major bus company of Brazil comparable to Greyhound) and Unibanco Seguros ( the insurance company contracted when he bought the bus ticket), following a tragic bus accident which has left Nara unable to continue his work, and faced with over 2 years worth of dental surgeries and orthodontic treatments.

On Febuary, 8 1998, Nara embarked on a 5-year journey to explore the world, trading peace, laughter, and music among the many cultures of our planet. Nara was due to return to the Okanagan, Canada, in January of 2003.

Nara attended both Beairsto elementary and Fulton high school in Vernon BC, and is a resident of nearby Silver Star Mountain. In his senior year he started travelling extensively in order to broaden horizons and discover a wider world of learning than that represented by institutions and borders.

In the last 5 years Nara has travelled in over 20 countries, working in many occupations to develop new skills, and making money to travel to new destinations. He left Canada with under $1000 and managed to live quite well through Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, U.S., France, Spain, Italy, India, Kashmir, Thailand, Brunei, Australia, Bali, South-Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Croatia, Belgium, French-Guyana, and Brazil (hopefully).

Each country revealed a new experience and job; he has worked as an events organiser, shop keeper, fruit and vegetable picker, restaurant waiter, chauffeur for a millionaire, healer, labourer, jeweller and street performer throughout all his journeys. Nara is known by many as a wonderful musician and organiser of street performers. 2 years ago Nara was in Croatia where he met his travelling companion Camille Hivelin, a young woman from Paris, France; the two have been travelling together ever since.

On December 14th 2002 Nara and Camille suffered a tragic accident when the driver of a Real Expresso bus, carrying 24 passengers, collided head-on with a dump truck full of sand. There were two fatalities and numerous severe injuries. There were mostly tourists on board. Since the accident, the driver of the bus pleaded guilty to having fallen asleep at the wheel, and has since been removed from duty.
(See links for A Tarde article below)

Nara smashed his teeth and lower jaw into the seat ahead of him, an injury now said to require 2 to 4 years of dental surgery and orthodontic treatments to recover. He spent a week in and out of hospital and another month of eating only liquids because of a metal brace clamping his jaw shut to heal the fracture. At the time of the accident Nara had considered returning to Canada, however, his extended leave from Canada made him ineligible for medical coverage, and the bus and insurance companies were not going to pay for the treatment if he was outside of Brazil.

Faced with the prohibitive costs of his medical treatments, and considering recommendations from his lawyer (recommended by the Canadian Embassy), Nara remained in Brazil.

Real Expresso Ltd. agreed that Nara remaining in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil until a settlement could be reached, was the best course of action for all parties. Real Expresso promised to pay for the best treatment possible in Canada, flight tickets back to Canada for the couple, all expenses needed for food, lodging, and transportation, as well as their lawyer's wages, the fine for overstaying their Visas (if needed), compensation for moral and aesthetic damages, and a bit of extra money for the vacation time lost because of the accident.

Over the next 7 months Nara and Camille were busied gathering information from specialists in both Canada and Brazil, discovering the extent of treatments he would require. All the while saving receipts for transportation, food, and lodging.

Since the beginning Real Expresso wasn't very helpful with information and paying for expenses, and after lots of arguing and endless telephone calls from his lawyer, Real Expresso would pay the minimum needed to survive. As the dental treatments continued, money became less frequent and was more difficult to receive. Often the couple would have to pay for their living expenses with their own money. The difficulties continued to the point where, Nara and Camille, now broke and indebted to their banks, were abandoned completely August 4th 2003 by Real Expresso, and were forced to borrow money from family members and friends to survive.

On September 9th 2003 the Bus Company reported Nara and Camille to immigration officials and the couple were removed from their apartment by federal police and fined 828 Reals (379 $CAD) each for overstaying their Visas. Luckily Nara's Portuguese was adequate to request the presence of their lawyer whom explained to the police that she had previously taken
care of everything and that they were in fact legal, whereby the two were released.

The preliminary hearing was held on October 14th 2003 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Real Expresso cited the couples illegal overstay in Brazil (maximum 6 months of a year from the date of entry) as their primary defence, asking that the case be dropped. Their lawers claimed that a Brazilian in the same situation in Canada wouldn't have any rights and be treated the same. (unlikely)

A parallel case against Unibanco Seguros Insurance Company was delayed when the defence failed to appear.

Although we are hopeful to have Nara back in the Okanagan by Christmas, they are in need of both public, and political support from our community.

For more information, and/or to send letters of support, please contact:



Article from "A tarde" about accident

Same as above - Transcribed (portugese)

Same as above - English Translation

Same as above - French Translation


Article from "The Vernon Morning Star"


Real Expresso Bus Company

Unibanco Seguros Insurance Company


Darryl Stinson MP, Okanagan/Shuswap

Bahiatursa (bahia tourism authority)

Conceicao Maria A. Serravalle

Brazilian Embassy in Ottawa

More info…

Canadian Consulate in Brazil

Canadian Embassy in Brazil

Brazilian Congressman:
Fernando Gabeira

Brazilian minister of tourism:
Walfrido Mares Guia


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