Brazil is on the move!



some of my nieces and nephews (my son josh is on the back row seated, blue shirt) — future stars of a country on the rise

I am ending my third full week in northern Brazil (two weeks of work, one week of vacation) and as you can tell, there hasn’t been much rambling from here. I have been busy!

My mind is full of vivid images of my time here. First of all, modernity has done something terrible to the city where I lived a good part of my life. My wife’s mom’s house, where I spent many hours courting her, which was two buses away from the center of town (that is, if you were lucky enough to have a bus show up when you needed it!), is now two hours or more bumper-to-bumper no prisoner-taking traffic. You could almost leave the car on neutral and roll it, so it seems.

My country of birth has shot up economically and the dream of wealth has finally come true to more than the privileged few. Of course, there is still much poverty, but nothing like when I was living here. There are opportunities to make money everywhere and the people are making the most of it. This is my first trip here since moving to the U.S. where I saw the fewest number of beggars on the streets.

My nieces and nephews, to give one example, are all on their way to become successful. The older ones have already or will be graduating from college soon. Physical therapists, lawyers, architects, medical doctors, teachers. They will go on to do great things, no doubt about it. And they are all connect with the rest of the world via Facebook and Twitter! My generation blazed the trail, now the kids are reaping the benefits, but the question is: are they even aware of the sacrifices their parents made?

While the team from the U.S. was here, we went to a very poor neighborhood in Macapa, in the northern most State of Brazil, Amapa. We rode in three silver cars literally until the dirt road ended and stopped at a little house which the owner uses to do some outreach to the kids from the area — you had to continue on, walking on wooden bridges to get to where the children were. As we were getting out of our cars, I overheard one of the older kids saying to the other kids, “You suppose they could be from the Mafia?” I laughed hard at that and then I got quiet thinking about what kind of a life those kids have to have in order to come up with a question like that.

I have heard so many stories of tragedies and triumphs, of hope and despair, but mostly I have been humbled by the resilient spirit of many of the people I have talked to. I could spend a lifetime just learning from them about the secret of contentment in the midst of apparently insurmountable challenges. Looking at the quality of the people I have met, I have no doubt that there is a bright future for this country which has perennially been teased as the giant that has never awaken. But watch out world: the giant is moving!

Ivanildo C. Trindade

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