Friends and Family
I´ve been in Rio a couple days short of a month. I have the tan lines to show for it and maybe a couple extra pounds. But maybe you want to know what´s impacted me or how I´ve impacted this community in that time.
Last night we went to the streets of downtown Rio and gathered with many people: children (8-14 years), young adults (15-21), and young families (22-older). There was a woman maybe 21 years old and 8 months pregnate with a 1 year old child. There was a motherly figure (probably late 30s but looked nearly 50), a young woman (16ish) under the mother´s care (not her mother), and a couple men all going to the same house later this week. There were 5 or 6 8-12 year old boys with a girl (maybe 9) practicing their provacative dance moves and several other individuals gathered this week. I spent most of the evening listening to the stories of an energetic/buzzed man (one of the ones going to a house together). He had never been to this woman´s house and said he was afraid to go. He said she was strict (not sure what that implied). He told me he has been living on these streets since he was 8 years old. He had been married but said that was no good and has a 19 year old son he hasn´t seen in 2 years and is now too ashamed to go see/find him. Many times he expressed his gratitude that we were there and said it was not good when we are away.
Almost every women I have met living on the streets18 years or older is pregnate. It seems like a perpetual state of being for these young women. Abortion is illegal in Rio but many have lost children presumably this way and many are raising children while barely able to support themselves. My heart breaks.
But then I get on a bus, ride for an hour to my current home which is like a huge suburban home compared to the conditions of my new friends´ trying to survive on the streets. I eat a big meal, have a shower, and sleep fairly peacefully. Perhaps this journey from ´have-not´to ´have´ is tearing me to peices.
I desire to build genuine relationships but feel limited because of the language barrier. I´m understanding more and more each day but can´t contribute much to a conversation. This is okay. It´s a humble position to be a baby, unable to talk only able to look and smile. I´m certain body language communicates our love sufficiently for now.
My greatest impact right now can only be my prayers. I´m dreaming about and wrestling with ideas about what my role might be in this place if I will be able to make a long-term committment.
That´s enough for now. Right now I´m making tortillas for everyone in the house. Yum!
Much love, I miss you, pray for you, and look forward to seeing you again!!!!