I am always grateful to the opportunities to experience life under circumstances different than my own. One of my good friends, a Japanese-Brazilian beauty answering to the lovely name of Grace Kelly, volunteers at the Spiritism Center at the Pavão-Pavãozinho favela near Copacabana/Ipanema. She goes there every week and works with young children, teaching them civility and also spiritual values (something I am not a huge fan of but do see the necessity for under certain circumstances). This time she invited me to join the Christmas party that her and the other volunteers organized for the kids and their parents.
I would say that at this point, I am much more aware of the daily reality of those communities and I was really happy to see the folks enjoying some food, drinks and attention from the white rich society that at large has abandoned them. It is nice to know that there are still quite a lot of people that care (when government doesn’t seem to be too bothered).
What saddened me the most was seeing how much the kids were seeking the attention of the adult volunteers. To me, their greatest problem is not poverty but rather lack of attention and care from parents who are either absent altogether, are under influence, or simply not too interested, or don’t even know what they should be doing in order to raise their kids properly.
On the other hand, it was so adorable to see the kid’s proud faces when they got their christmas presents and were running around, showing them to everyone. One, especially cute child with perfectly styled small ponytails with pink ribbons and a hello kitty outfit came up to me to show me her new princess toothbrush, while another daredevil child asked me to guard the cakes he kept accumulating while he ran around to fetch his own present.