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October 30, 2004


Hey All,

How’s it going?  I just spent another wonderful morning/afternoon with my capoeira group in Passo Dorneles.  This week the community development association there handed out t-shirts printed with our group’s logo to each of the kids.  Jean warned the kids to take good care of their gift and to keep the t-shirts in good shape for when they jogar as a group and for when they perform at parades or at the city park.  It was great to see the kids’ smiling faces again and to watch them giggle as they played with each other and with us in the roda

It was also great simply to spend more time with the members of the group.  Though most of the group members who were there this weekend are in high school, they’re great to hang out with; they’re caring, genuine, fun people who really care about capoeira, about each other, and about the kids.  In fact, it’s the high schoolers that organize and run the Saturday and/or Sunday capoeira sessions with the crianças (little kids).  Something I hadn’t realized is that they, too, live in Passo Dorneles, right up in the “shacks” on the hill in the background of the photo on my weblog.  We went to Indio’s house today before eating lunch at the school in order to drop off the instruments, and though it was a simple, concrete, tin-roofed structure, it was very well taken care of inside.  There seemed to be a child’s birthday party going on today, as when we entered a whole group of seven to ten-year-olds came running out of the kitchen with their faces painted. 

Though Indio’s family and the other high-schoolers in the group don’t have much in terms of material possessions, they definitely have an appreciation for what they do have–and they also have heart.  Spending time with them makes me even more sure that I want to live a simple life.  I never feel as relaxed and at peace with myself as when I am spending time with them in Passo Dorneles; I always know I’ve made the right decision to spend my day there rather than using my weekend to sightsee or travel around Brazil.  I don’t want to see more wealth; I want to get out of the consolidated city and into a place where I don’t feel the weight of glaring inequality on my shoulders, where people don’t live in classy high rises and shop at trendy malls while poor men and their families scavenge these very places for salvagable trash to take back home on their rickety, horse-drawn carts.  I will never be able to justify to myself buying more than what I need to live a healthy life while others live like that.  It’s not right–for me, it’s not right.  I know I can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but at least I don’t have to contribute to them.  And by living more simply and sharing my excess I can help a few people–and a few is better than none.  Imagine what wonders we could work in this world if only everyone committed themselves to helping just a few. 


From → Brazil, Uncategorized

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