Category: In English (Page 1 of 2)

When I experienced pain and brotherhood

I have been thinking whether now is the right time to challenge myself and start to share my experiences in English. For over ten years I’ve been writing in Portuguese and Italian to the (I write, therefore I am) audience and now I feel comfortable to amplify the range of potential readers.

Firstly, I must say that writing has been a way to not keep my existence with me. It is a tool to share and not to promote myself. It is also a sort of auto-therapy. Every time I look back I realise how different I was and how much I’ve learnt through the experiences I lived. So, let’s do it.


Being in contact with different cultures is one of my passions. It is not a coincidence that my wife is not Brazilian and I had lived, for long or short periods of time, in countries on four different continents. As a result of these experiences, I met a wide range of people that made me realise how incredible the world is.

My life changing experience happened in 2005, in Indonesia. I stayed in Sumatra island for 29 days with a group of youth visiting projects in response to the tragic Tsunami that hit South East Asia six months before I was there.

Every time I share this experience a striking moment comes into my mind. We have just arrived in Aceh, the closest city of the earthquake’s epicentre, and an old man came to us saying that he would like to share his story. “I had to leave Aceh for one week to buy some stuff for my family. When I went back, my town was hit by the Tsunami. I run to see whether my family was safe, but no one was there anymore. All my close family, my extended family, my neighbours, my boss, my work colleagues, everyone was gone. I lost everything. In my neighbourhood with a few hundreds of inhabitants, only 30 people survived”.

I have been spared from close contact with real pain until that moment. However, listening to peoples stories made me understand the real value of empathy. I didn’t have to find solutions when there was nothing to change. I only needed to be there, silent, and (sometimes) cry together.

My presence in Indonesia, so far away from my homeland, triggered many smiles from those who were suffering. “Are you Brazilian? Why are you here?”. I just wanted to be there with them. It was the first opportunity I had to feel that, despite borders, walls, distances, we can be brothers and sisters.

Standing #WithRefugees

Thousands of people flee violence every day around the world, from Myanmar to South Sudan to Guatemala.

Ordinary people. People like me, like you, are searching for a place to call home for their children, their families.

They might seem too different because of their race, culture, their faith.

But we share the same humanity. “I am because you are”.

So, let’s not extinguish Hope in their hearts.

When we are alone, we are easily the victims of fear.

We must look at; we must build, the future together: not alone.

It is all about sharing responsibility, where all parts of society stand together.

Now more than ever, we need to stand #WithRefugees.

(Text is written for the ACT Alliance video for World Refugee Day 2018

Can we save communication?

I vividly remember my arrival in Aceh, north of Sumatra island, Indonesia, only six months after the 2004 Tsunami that devastated entire communities in several countries. The inner silence was everything I had, while I was stepping on the ground of hundreds of destroyed houses. Here was a bathroom, there a kitchen. While newspapers all around the world talked about numbers of death, right there, with my feet on that land, I realised that we were talking about people.

That experience was a milestone for me and made me choose communication as my brush which I’ve been using to paint a more humane world, that puts people and nature at the center of political action. In these 13 years, people, neither money nor comfort or career, have been my mission. They are in my writings, in my photos, videos. I am not assuming that everyone should do the same, but I believe it’s my calling.

However, recent times have shown challenges that sometimes seem too hard to overcome. I’ve been noticing that even people of goodwill, when facing conflicts, have chosen violent methodologies to respond. Understanding, empathy and dialogue must be the tools to negotiate existence. And we should do that through our political actions using all our skills.

As a Christian communicator, I echo the words of Pope Francis who invites all faithful to be “bridges”: Promoting dialogue instead of enhancing division – within communities, with political leaders or in the global arena.

The primary challenge seems not to repeat the mainstream media, but to bring hope to the vulnerable communities and to the recipients of the information we share, using methodologies that promote cohesion. That is the only way we can be actors of positive change. That is a one-way road to fulfil my mission as a communicator and continue to work towards making societies a space for peaceful coexistence, besides our differences.

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