After spending six months in Brazil…
I noticed how people everywhere seemed so happy despite a lack of luxury. Often Brazilian families live in houses that are made of simple bricks or sometimes just wooden plates.
Usually multiple generations live together, people with their children, parents and grandparents. You see babies that are being passed around between the other siblings. Even if it appeared quite rough to me at first, I started to see it as normal and very caring after some time. There is not much “safety”. Everyone holds and plays with the younger children, even if they’re not your own, and everyone is having a good time.
Along the lines of: It takes a village to raise a child.
Walking or driving through the towns and villages…
you see families sitting together in front of their houses right at the streets, in simple plastic chairs. Once it gets dark, all the 5 or 10 people disappear back into their house and you wonder where they’re all sleeping. These houses are barely bigger than 30 m2. We saw that people often sleep in hammocks, which saves a lot of space. During the day they mostly have their doors open, so you can see a bunch of hammocks hanging in their living room.
Seeing this made me realize how irrelevant our Western wealth and standards are. Wealth doesn’t contribute to our happiness and contentment in life. In the Western world we live mostly separately. Our children move out once they’re 18, we put the elderly in retirement homes. We let the state take care of our family.
“But this is great!”
…I hear you say. “Our government takes care of the sick and elderly while it gives you the freedom to go to work.” My Brazilian friends on the other hand see it differently. For them, sending your family members away from home destroys the concept of the family.
People are not bothered by loud children, they embrace them. They run around free, they are loud, nobody cares. I’m the first to be bothered by loud children, but I found it very interesting that people in Brazil don’t seem to be.
Traveling through Latin America and especially Brazil helped me see another side of things. The family unit is strong, children can express their creativity, and the elderly are respected members of the family.
I want to spread my positive thoughts about this beautiful country and the amazing people living here. Brazil as well as other countries in Latin America will change your mind about anything you might have believed to be true. Not everything has to be bad just because many people are poor or uneducated. They actually have real knowledge about life and surviving and can walk through nature with you explaining how to get food, climb trees and create shelter. Can you do that?
Thank you for reading!
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Photo credit creative commons (accessed 2022-01-17)