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Someday ... MAG
I have this feeling that someday I'll go back. I can'tseem to shake the idea of going back to the sunshine, the beaches and thetropical temperatures, back to the dirt streets, the houses made from trash andthe overcrowded schools, back to the country where I, as a white person, was aminority, and everyone else spoke Portuguese, not English. Someday I'll go backto Brazil.
My family went to Brazil to visit a missionary from our church,and it was an experience I'll never forget. I traveled around the countryside ina Kombie (a mini-bus) with one window busted out, a broken accelerator cable andshock absorbers that didn't absorb much of anything. We drove this rickety oldvehicle along curving roads at fairly high speeds, yet many cars still raced pastus. I remember flying off the seat as we hit the Brazilian method of speedcontrol, the lombada, a speed bump. Each town had them, and they certainly wereeffective.
We spent several days in the small town of Tacaimbu. Whilethere, I got to watch the amazing transformation that took place on market day.People bargained for bread, fruit and fresh meat. The food simply sat out in thesun; nothing was wrapped or refrigerated. The streets were full of noise andcolor. Pineapples, T-shirts, bananas and sweetbread were all positioned atstrategic points along the street. For the first time in my life, I saw orangesthat were green and cashews still attached to the fruit. Vendors and shoppershaggled over prices, while beggars walked around singing, hoping to receiveenough money to buy food. These sights and sounds combined for colorfulchaos.
I also saw things that were not so pleasant. I looked on,astonished, as we drove by an entire neighborhood of "houses" made fromscraps found in the trash heap. The neighborhood had no plumbing or electricity;I looked out the window and saw kids playing soccer in the street next to an opensewer.
My life has been extremely sheltered, and suddenly my eyes began toopen to the condition of the world. One day we visited a school that was so fullit had to have four sessions at diffferent times each day to accommodate all thestudents. In TacaimbU, I saw row after row of houses with television antennas.Those families didn't have fans to combat the heat, yet all had televisions tokeep up with the news and soap operas.
I watched, listened and learned.I learned that I live in an incredibly large house and that I am extremelywealthy. For ten days, I was part of another culture. Those ten days changed myview of the world. Maybe someday I'll go back to Brazil. Someday, when I start toforget just how blessed I really am, when I start to complain about trivialthings, then I'll go back to the country where people are happy to have shelter,where kids appreciate a simple ball to play with and where a good education is anincredible privilege. Someday I'll go back to Brazil.
The Experience of a Lifetime by Lisa K., Quincy, MA
Family Appreciation by Nicholas M., Kenmore, NY
And They Came by Alexandra F., Mesa, AZ
Life Out of the United States by Kurtis S., Ephrata, PA
My Kenyan Flag by Delvin K., Paterson, NJ
By Gretchen L., Edina, MN
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