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  • ivanildotrindade 10:16 am on July 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , equator, , hometown, , progress, prosperity, rush hour, , traffic jam, trailblazers, wealth and poverty   

    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

  • ivanildotrindade 10:28 pm on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: rest of the world, wealth and poverty, world poverty   

    Were Americans born on third base? 

    A friend of mine — an American who loves baseball, likes to say that Americans were born on third base. Whether this is true or not, it is obvious that the U.S. and much of the western nations are places where lack is only a relative term. Don’t take me wrong. I know there is a lot of people struggling to make ends meet in the west, including the U.S., but when compared to some other parts of the world, we might as well be Bill Gates, even the majority of the “poor” among us.

    Today I start reflecting on what is like to live in some other parts of the world.

    I was visiting a friend in the hospital today. While visiting her brother on Sunday, she missed a step and ended up doing significant damage to her ankle. She had a complicated surgery and now will have to work hard and wait at least two months until she can put weight on that foot. As painful as that process was and is, I don’t know if she realizes her good fortunes under the circumstances. She was able to go to a state of the art hospital where several competent physicians spared no effort to fix her foot. And while the recuperation time is slow and painful, the amazing thing is that she can actually look forward to regaining full use of her foot.

    In some other countries around the world she might have to wait in the emergency room for several hours or days, lying on a mat or on the floor, before she would be helped. She would then be bandaged up and referred to a surgeon, and probably released to go home. Her relatives would then have to get in line, more than likely early in the morning, to try to make an appointment with the surgeon. If she got lucky and saw one, it may be three to four months until she is able to have the surgery scheduled. Of course, in most cases, going to a doctor or a hospital would be completely out of the question either for lack of money or because no such services are available. You get the picture.

    To be more specific, here are the facts:

    Almost half the world β€” over three billion people β€” live on less than $2.50 a day.

    At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

    And here are the World Bank Development indicators from 2005:

    Finally, look at the statistics for people who live in hunger in the world (from 2010):

    In the next few days I will be looking at what it means to live in the rest of the world so you can think about the privileges you have living in the West and some of the implications of this to how we live our lives. My goal is not to make you guilty but to inform you. But if you get guilty, deal with it.

    Ah yes, and my friend said, “Thank God for morphine.”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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