Hard goodbyes

Andreía crochets while watching the news in her bedroom.

It was my last day with the Emboava family and it wasn’t easy to leave. It’s only been a week and half since we met, but I know I’ll miss every member of this family. With tears in her eyes, Andreía told me not to book a hotel if I ever return to São Paulo — she’d rather have me stay with them.

Arivaldo loads a van with recyclables from a public health center.

Arivaldo loads a van with recyclables from a public health center.

Andreía sorts a variety of materials, including plastic, paper and cardboard, among other items.

Andreía sorts a variety of materials, including plastic, paper and cardboard, among other items.

Workers throw bags of recyclable materials over Cooper Glicério's front wall.

Workers throw bags of recyclable materials over Cooper Glicério’s front wall.

Agatha and Andreía laugh at a coworker's joke.

Agatha and Andreía laugh at a coworker’s joke. Sometimes Agatha helps at the cooperative, so Andreía and Arivaldo don’t have to work as long. 

After everything they did for me, I wanted to give the Emboavas a proper goodbye. I printed photos and wrote a letter, which I’ll share with you here:

Andreía, Edinaldo, Arivaldo, Agatha, Ruan and Marjorye,

You’re an amazing family. I feel so blessed for the time I got to spend with you and everything you’ve taught me. My experience in São Paulo was incredible and I have your family to thank.

You’re each special in a different way and I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to see that. Andreía – your generosity and hospitality has inspired me to give more and be open with others, as you’ve been with me. Edinaldo – your smile lights up a room and makes me smile every time I see it. Arivaldo – you’re such a hard worker and you were always looking for ways to help me and make my project better. Agatha – your laugh is absolutely beautiful! I enjoyed spending time with you, your friends and your boyfriend because I got to see you take a break from all the hard work you do at home. Ruan – you’re silly and goofy, always joking around, and you’re pretty good with a camera too! Marjorye – you’re the cutest little girl I’ve ever met. I couldn’t stop taking photos of you, even when I knew I had too many for my story.

Again, I can’t say thank you enough. You represent your country well by showing me what a loving, caring Brazilian family looks like. And you’ve proven to me that you don’t need tons of extra money to be happy.

If I’m ever in São Paulo again, I’ll look you up. I’ll always be grateful for the time we spent together.

Love always,

Cara Wilwerding

Edinaldo and Marjorye watch cartoons before starting their day.

Edinaldo and Marjorye watch cartoons before starting their day.

Agatha loads a bin full of dirty dishes.

Agatha loads a bin full of dirty dishes.

Andreía and Edinaldo have a conversation from separate rooms.

Andreía and Edinaldo have a conversation from separate rooms.

Andreía tries to convince Marjorye to brush her teeth in the shower.

Andreía tries to convince Marjorye to brush her teeth in the shower.

Edinaldo listens while Andreía and Ruan have an argument.

Edinaldo listens while Andreía and Ruan have an argument.

Ruan and Marjorye play with blown up latex gloves.

Ruan and Marjorye play with blown up latex gloves.

Ruan and Agatha laugh at their uncle's joke.

Ruan and Agatha laugh at their uncle’s joke.

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About Cara Wilwerding
Cara Wilwerding is a senior journalism major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She grew up in Omaha, Neb and started her journalism career at Omaha Westside High School. She writes for the Daily Nebraskan’s arts and entertainment section in addition to taking photos. She’s also traveled to São Paulo, Brazil, for a similar photojournalism project with the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. This summer, she will work as an editorial and multimedia intern for HearNebraska.org, float down the Niobrara River and play a fair amount of ultimate frisbee. After graduating next spring, Wilwerding hopes to continue writing and photographing for an arts and entertainment publication.

One Response to Hard goodbyes

  1. Ann P. Wilwerding says:

    This is my favorite of all your stories. Your letter to the family is beautiful and all the pictures are great! I’m sure you impacted this family in a very positive way. So proud of you Cara.

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