It was a blisteringly hot day and I was drenched to the skin by the time I had lugged the bags of school supplies up to Zezinho’s new (very nice!) apartment. We spent about an hour sorting through the supplies and then collating them into sets placed within the new string backpacks Zezinho found for an incredible R$7 each.
Each colorful, new backpack contains a spiral notebook, three pencils, a pen, a pencil sharpener, and eraser, several balloons and a set of finger paints (just for fun!) We were able to supply items to fill 40 backpacks.
Anyway, I will come back to all this in a later post when we actually deliver the stuffed backpacks, as well as the art supplies, to Tio. Say tuned, it should be in the first week of January.
The reason for this post is to relate an act of kindness I witnessed while folded into a van making my way down the hill to my bus back to Niterói in Gávea.
While waiting in traffic to get around a tight turn (Rocinha has just one winding main road and it is heavily used by vans, trucks, busses and a gazillion motorcycles) the driver of our van noticed that a man making his way up a wide pathway, carrying a small cabinet on his shoulders, had dropped something. The driver called out to the resident.
The guy did not hear at first so the van driver beeped his horn and continued to yell: “Hey, guy, you dropped your wallet, or your cell phone, or something!” When the guy did hear he did not understand what was being said so he turned and walked back down to get within earshot, passing his dropped item on the ground.
For the next couple of blocks everyone in the van broke into tales of when they had had their dropped wallets returned to them complete with documents and cash intact, and how great it is that people would know how important a moment like that can be.
The feeling of community right then, in that little corner of the Rocinha favela, was palpable.