Thursday, January 27, 2011

Unexpected item in the bagging area

And so, a resume of sorts. I need to tell you about A. Never formally introduced by me (to my shame), he arrived about the same time at J. You may have seen him in a few postings over the months.

like a bunch of keys

Badly deformed by fire as a child, he always had a troubled relationship with his mother, whom he blames for the contorted stumps which he has for feet. He is one of several brothers, each by a different father; with the exception (if you can call it that) that his father is dead. Misfortune, jealousy and neglect - a toxic mix for a childhood spent mostly in the care of random "uncles" and neighbours.

We met him several times on the street before he was interned in a state-run home and shortly thereafter referred to us. Come to us, he did, for seven months. Progressing well, he was allowed supervised (and then, unsupervised) family visits, with mixed results.

"Was all this the realisation of our war aims?", Malcolm Muggeridge asked as he surveyed the desolation of Berlin in May, 1945. "Did it really represent the triumph of good over evil?". And sometimes I too reflect on our aim of reintegration and wonder if it works in all circumstances. If one cannot change the context (the nurture), can one hope to change the nature?

But then I think of J, and how he too was reintegrated - wholly and successfully - at the same time as A. He now attends Robert's post-school ministry between the favelas in São George. A great encouragement.

The boys we look after are not particularly exceptional in appearance, although some come to us suffering from malnutrition or bear scars from a life already lived (but they are the minority). The difference only becomes noticeable after interaction with them for longer periods of time. Like a bunch of keys with one recently removed, you can sense when you pick them up that there's something missing.

The story comes to its seemingly inexorable conclusion with a string of phone calls from his mother over the weekend, sounding as if they stemmed from genuine concern. And then, quite unexpectedly - shockingly even - I spot him on the streets in downtown this afternoon. Emaciated and swaying from the intoxication of thinner, I approach him, give him a hug and tell him he is loved. He wants to return to the rescue house. And that is what we shall endeavour to do.

I will return to the street later tonight to try and find him. It's no place for a child.

Close to the rescue house, in the jungle

"The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf." ~ Bertrand Russell

As you are now, we once were

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Big bugs won't die

Note to family: bring the spray, the nets won't hold them back

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

São Paulo Street View™

"To the chagrin of intellectuals, people tend to like what Koolhaas refers to as "junkspace"; they ignore their gritty city streets in favour of malls, cloned shopping centres, multiplexes, gated spaces and the roadside sheds of hyper-consumption. It's a soul-destroying conclusion, but perhaps we get the buildings and the cities we deserve."

The Financial Times, 13th December 2010

After the rain

...comes strange fruit

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Falling between Italy and Brazil

"It has long been true that California on its own would rank as one of the biggest economies of the world. These days, it would rank eighth, falling between Italy and Brazil on a nominal exchange-rate basis. But how do other American states compare with other countries?"

falling between Italy and Brazil - I can think of few better places to be

Source: The Economist, 13th January, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Swimming Lessons

it's time to renovate the kitchen

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Speed / Limits

Sometimes I feel that my life is stuck on fast-forward.
In my anxiety to enjoy the restful moments, they are gone.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ah, but the poor will always be with us

“Social mobility was impressive during Lula’s two mandates,” [Dilma] told members of Congress and other luminaries. “But poverty still exists, disfiguring our country and stopping us from claiming to be a fully developed nation.”

The Economist, 1st January 2011