//
you're reading...
Social Issues

Brazil: Street People’s Christmas


From Boca de Runa, Porto Alegre, Brazil, June 2008 edition comes the Brazilian magazine’s street vendor’s own stories of what Christmas means to them, and how they spend it. These stories show that, no matter what the circumstances, homeless people have the same basic values and hopes that everybody shares. These stories could have been written by homeless people anywhere in the world, and just goes to show that the homelessness problem is universal.

Boca de Runa is a member of the INSP, and Porto Alegre (“Joyous Port”) is Brazil’s 10th largest city, with a population of 4,100,000 people.

Even without a home or a family, homeless people also celebrate

Like people with a home, Christmas can also be a day of joy and celebration for those who live on the streets. 41 year-old André Oliveira dos Santos has been homeless for 18 years. He says that, as well as encountering mean-spirited people, there are also plenty of kind-hearted people around. “There are a lot of good people who come and share a bit of their celebration with us, bring a plate of food, talk to us and thank us for having them.” For Andre, Christmas means another year of life, another year of wisdom, forgetting the past and facing the present.

There are people in need. Luís Carlos do Rosário spent three Christmases on the streets without ever receiving so much as a “Merry Christmas”. Many homeless people are okay with not getting anything for Christmas; others expect something. But there are also many people who have a home and come and spend Christmas on the streets, because they like it better.

22 year-old Éderson da Rocha, who has been homeless for 6 years, spends Christmas on the streets and prefers it that way. He says he thinks Christmas on the streets is okay, but he misses his mum and his son. For him, Christmas means joy, peace and love.

31 year-old Alexandra Lúcia Nascimento has been on the streets for 6 months. She has never spent Christmas on the streets; she prefers spending it at home so she can be with her two daughters. This Christmas will be different for Alexandra because one of her daughters was taken into care. The gift she wishes for most is to have a life with her daughters again.

“My happiest Christmas was…”

When my mum woke me up at midnight with a big hug and a loving kiss. It was the last Christmas I spent with my family and I will never forget it. (Marcelo Guedes – Mimi)

“The first Christmas I spent with my whole family was great fun because we played Secret Santa and there was a lot of laughter. Then my cousins smashed eggs on my head because it was also my birthday. At midnight, sharp, the blowout began, and then there was a birthday cake that my mum always baked for me.” (Robson Quadros dos Santos)

“Christmas means a lot to me. Some of us who live on the streets don’t even have a family. We just have homesickness. But we’re not that sad, we have to live life the way it is.”
(Michelle)

“For me Christmas is good and always has been, because every Christmas is a year gone by and things always change. For the better.” (Bocão)

“Christmas is especially good for me because it’s the birthday of my second mum, my gran.” (Adriano)

Pingüim Restaurant and a Bald Santa

The following story happened to a group of homeless people one Christmas day:

They were around Parque da Redenção when this guy and a few other people came to wish them a Merry Christmas and give them several gifts. The items included a roast chicken, ten 2-litre bottles of pop, a big cake, Russian salad and 4 bottles of champagne. A whole meal. Imagine how happy they were. If the guy wasn’t skinny and bald, he would probably have been mistaken for Santa Claus. Actually, his beard was black, but who knows, maybe he dyed it…

They carried the bags all the way to Lima e Silva, by the restaurant Pingüim, where they used to hang out. They spread a cloth on the floor like a picnic blanket and asked the restaurant manager if he could chill the champagne. He agreed. A while later a waiter came by with a tray full of cold beers: “The clients sent these for you”. It was the icing on the cake. It really was Christmas.

Translated from Portuguese by INSP volunteer, Fernanda Roxo.

Reprinted from Boca de Rua, Brazil

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 17,663 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

Once China achieves its professed goal of establishing control over Taiwan, a process of “re-education” of the island’s population would follow, according to China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye. The ambassador was speaking on French television channel BFM TV on Wednesday night, when he said a majority of the Taiwanese population actually wanted to be […]

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s present state confirms the famous statement: “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.” Sri Lankans have been repeating the mistakes of choosing the politicians Rajapaksas again and again. It is confirmed that there were unaccounted payments that the Chinese were liberal with during project negotiations with the island nation. They were paid […]

<strong>China’s military drills around Taiwan drive foreign firms to draw up exit plans for staff and assets</strong>

<strong>China’s military drills around Taiwan drive foreign firms to draw up exit plans for staff and assets</strong>

China’s military drills around Taiwan have led some foreign companies on the island to draw up contingency plans in case there is an attack. Photo: Reuters (image omitted) Multinational businesses in Taiwan are laying plans to evacuate assets and personnel in case mainland China attacks the island. While no one is fixing to leave, analysts […]

Chinese aircraft, ships and drones circle Taiwan on final day of military drills

Chinese aircraft, ships and drones circle Taiwan on final day of military drills

The Chinese military continued joint air-naval exercises on Sunday, simulating attacks on Taiwan, the Taiwanese defense ministry said as China announced new drills north of the island in the Yellow Sea. It was the last day of drills held as an angry response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. At the […]

What may be China’s response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

What may be China’s response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

Nikkei Asia describes US military deployment for possible military response to China’s response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit in its report “U.S. deploys ships and planes near Taiwan as Pelosi eyes visit” yesterday. However, China is not fully prepared for taking Taiwan by force now, especially a war with the US due to its military takeover […]

A Quad of a new kind: Tech Quad   

A Quad of a new kind: Tech Quad   

Machines, big and small, all rely on one component, semiconductor. Be it computers, telecommunications, household appliances, banking, security, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and last but not least, war-making machinery, all depend upon semiconductors. So, it won’t be unreasonable to say that the country that controls the semiconductors controls the future. Do you know, just like Rare […]

Taiwan’s aircraft and warships stage five-day live-fire exercise

Taiwan’s aircraft and warships stage five-day live-fire exercise

The Taiwanese military kicked off a five-day annual live-fire exercise on Monday aimed at bolstering the island’s defense capabilities and combat readiness at a time when China and Taiwan’s allies have been facing off in the airspace and seas around the island. The Han Kuang drills will be taking place at a number of locations […]

China plundered, India blundered and Sri Lanka surrendered  

China plundered, India blundered and Sri Lanka surrendered  

On Wednesday, Ranil Wickremesinghe, present acting President, was voted in as the next President of Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan parliamentarians. Some people are prematurely hailing new President Ranil Wickremasinghe as P V Narasimha Rao of Sri Lanka, who steered India through 1991’s economic crisis towards economic stability. Would Ranil Wickremesinghe — a record six-time […]

India gains on China in crisis-hit Sri Lanka

India gains on China in crisis-hit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s pre-emptive default on its foreign debt obligations in mid-April 2022 and recently resigned president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s flight from Sri Lanka on 12 July provides India with an opportunity to match China in the foreign aid game. The Indian government held an all-party meeting on the Sri Lankan crisis on July 19 and new President Ranil […]

China is relentlessly trying to peel away Japan’s resolve on disputed islands

China is relentlessly trying to peel away Japan’s resolve on disputed islands

For all the speculation of quick military action by China to achieve its foreign policy goals, Beijing’s track record has been more akin to peeling an onion, slowly and deliberately pulling back layers to reach a goal at the center. Think of how Beijing built up islands in the South China Sea and then fortified […]

%d bloggers like this: