“We have to work for things to get better.”

I’m growing closer and closer to the Emboava family, as I continue to visit them at work and home. The past couple days have been full of happy and sad moments, stressful situations and hard work. I couldn’t imagine living like this every day. But the Emboavas seem to take it all in stride.

Andreía sorts paper in a dumpster.

Andreía wipes her face after sorting paper.

Before heading home for lunch, Andreíá observes a wound on her father's face.

Before heading home for lunch, Andreíá observes a wound on her father’s face.

I interviewed Andreía, Arivaldo and Sergio, the leader of Cooper Glicério. Arivaldo was extremely optimistic while explaining their difficulties and struggles, saying, “we have to work for things to get better.” He talked of a better future for his family, specifically for his grandchildren.

Arivaldo holds three-year-old Marjorye's hand after dancing around the entryway.

Arivaldo holds three-year-old Marjorye’s hand after dancing around the entryway.

Like her father, Andreía also dreams of a better future. She would like to move to a new house within this year, to escape the violence of downtown São Paulo. “I have children and teenagers at home and I don’t want them to grow up here,” Andreía said.

Andreía smokes a cigarette out her front door.

Andreía smokes a cigarette out her front door.

Bruce Thorson watches neighborhood children play across the street from the Emboava household.

Bruce Thorson watches neighborhood children play across the street from the Emboava household.

Andreía and Arivaldo work relentlessly day after day, and that’s inspirational. Not only to me, but to Andreía’s entire family. The children pitch in without being asked, a concept completely foreign to kids in the U.S.

Fourteen-year-old Agatha leads the household when her mother’s not around, cooking meals, taking care of the younger children and assisting her paraplegic father. While I haven’t gotten to know her very well yet, I hope to spend much more time with Agatha before I leave. Strength and perseverance obviously run in the family.

Until next time,

Cara Wilwerding