That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight…

losing my voice…

I think part of it has been this cold weather that we’ve been having, while part of it has been the lack of sleep and general stress level of the last few weeks since my return. The good news is that I feel I’m settling into a series of positive rhythms (or rather, my rhythms have moved from the negative and unhealthy to merely neutral. One day at a time, right?)

I spent the afternoon with a friend who runs a project in a neighboring favela. It’s always refreshing and fun to spend time with him – his gift for speaking truth (often at the expense of tact) is refreshing, and his sarcasm and sharp tongue make for a fun combination. One of our topics of discussion over cafezinhos was the older teens who hang out at his project. Many of them look to him as a counselor, adviser, or just someone to hang out with, laugh, and know they are loved and valued.

Two of them stopped by the office while we were chatting, and our friend shared with these two young men about a possible job training opportunity they could apply for. The catch was that they had to be studying. One of them dropped out of school this year, because he missed the first few months due to his (obligatory) military service, and was just too lost to catch up. He was lost – didn’t like school – and didn’t see the point of it.

My friend turned to me and said “The hardest thing is to help them be interested in education…” Turning back to the young man, he said, “Education is the one thing you have control over. You can’t change the fact that you’re poor, you live in a favela, that you’re black… but this is something you can change, that can change your life…”

That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard for P and other young men and women like him. But it’s a door – a hope for something better. The hard part is to make sure that his hope is not in vain…


1 Comment

Filed under education, favela, sickness

One response to “That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight…

  1. Sylvie

    hey, ben, you don’t know me, but I’ve become a frequent visitor to your blog. I am researching volunteer opportunities in rio and would love some of your perspective. (Two on the list are in favelas, and I’d love to hear how you think a gringa gal would do…) If you don’t mind, would you drop me a line? (I’ll tell you more of what I’m looking at, but prefer e-mail to a public post! muito obrigada!!

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