Service and Learning–Angels showed up from everywhere!!!
Trip Notes & Video: MORE Project Brazil Expedition 2010
When I signed on to the MORE Project Brazil Expedition, I knew we were going down there to change lives. What I didn’t realize was that the life most profoundly changed, would be my own.
Having been involved with the MORE Project, donating money and even sponsoring a child from here in the states, I thought I knew what to expect when I got down to Brazil. I was wrong. The first-hand experience of being there is nothing like I ever dreamed.
Brazil in many ways is a dream – a beautiful, tropical land. And in other ways, it is a nightmare – 6 million people living in Rio De Janiero alone with over one million of them living in “favellas” – Brazilian for ghetto; 1 out of 6 people living below the poverty level – 25 million in the country living on $2 a day; and 7.5 million Brazilian children living on the streets – many of them sold for prostitution.
Poverty is nothing new to me; I’ve seen horribly poor areas in countries all over the world. But nothing compares to the depth of poverty we experienced in Brazil. There are 1,140 favellas in Rio De janiero alone where families live 4 or more in an 8 x 10 room. These “homes” consiste of mattresses lining the dirt floors. When it rains, the room becomes muddy and damp, but the occupants have no where else to go. They somehow make do.
But these are only numbers – the real story of Brazil is told in the faces of the poor – in the faces of the children. It was wonderful to meet the children we’ve been sponsoring face-to-face. So wonderful, actually, that I came home with the hopes of sponsoring four more: Gabriella who is 2 years old and her brother who is 4, Ingrid and Douglas both at age 14.
We met with Sergio Ponce, one of the driving forces behind Monavie Village, who’s vision began with sixty needy children and now encompasses 2,000 children and adults – a number soon to double. Monavie Village includes a brand new day care facility which opened while we were there. They also have created a mother’s house, Believers one and two and a professional school.
Monavie Village is a ray of light in an otherwise dark world. Looking across the landscape at a favella, as far as you can see – there are discarded people. Amazingly when you get closer to them – to each individual – there is HOPE in their eyes. How, amidst all this poverty and lack, can there be hope? I believe that the MORE Project which stands for Monavie Operation Rescue along with Monavie Village and all the support and educational programs have planted these seeds of hope in the favellas. Through us – the Monavie family – and our deeds, this discarded population knows that there are many, many people in the world who DO CARE and love them. The rehabbed homes we help to build shine out from the shanties that surround them like beacons of hope for all who live there.
You and I and everyone that drinks and distributes Monavie are part of that hope. Every bottle sold helps to change the world for the poorest of the poor in Brazil.