Having one of those days... I have 25 glorious days a month here and then there are the 5 that really suck. These are the days where I know I am living in a foreign country and I am the Foreigner.
Last night my dog escaped from my house, she put her nose down and followed it far away from home. There is so much shit and garbage to smell in the streets here... when she comes home I know after this adventure she will be happy to have her little boring life behind bars with tons of people food at her disposal, short walks on the leash and blankets to sleep on. The life of a Street Dog in Brasil is not one to be envious about.
I know Bhellie is a smart dog and I know she is out there trying to get home. Not only is she probably hungry but she is also now fighting with the other dogs as they are very territorial. Dogs here work the streets just as people have specific corners or streets where they pander for money or “watch your cars”. Dogs here work hard every day to find food and they are infested with fleas, weathered and scarred. They are hit by cars and most of them always seem scared of everything. I was a Veterinarian Technician and the problem with dogs in the street is so large that I do nothing… I do not get involved and I am sure for the safety of my children this is the best thing but how does that really make me feel inside knowing that my job is to just forget that it exists. I can’t feed them from my door because that too will become a problem.
We have been driving around looking for Bhellie and hanging flyers in BRASIL. Let’s just say that I am not in the best of spirits because I am missing my dog and because of this I am sure this is why I am feeling like saying this next bit. BUT... while driving around I realize that I am living in the dumps, some areas around where I live have kids selling crack on the street, trash is everywhere and I keep thinking that even Bhellie wouldn't like these smells. I realize that life is hard here; it is not even easy for the people who have enough money to get out of poverty and to provide more for their children. Those kids go to school full time and then work the rest of the day for a better life because they know what they will have if they don’t, they see that life every day.
The lack of education in these areas it so profound it becomes scary and it is so unreal to think that being educated is something new; only a generation of people away & for many, they still won’t get educated in their lifetime. The minimum wage of someone working in Brasil is $540 real a month. This is $337 in U.S dollars. The cost of products in Brasil is more expensive, going out to eat is about the same as in the U.S. and the prices of Groceries are about the same or higher. No wonder why we have shipped all of our jobs overseas. We sell the products to Americans and then take the U.S. dollar and exchange it to pay foreign workers. I don’t mean to get off on another tangent but this fact seemed appropriate now.
Brazilians are proud, they have a good time, they laugh, they cry together and they are good people. More and more I understand why there families are so strong. People who want something more work very hard and do it with pride. People who are less fortunate have a life on the street and struggle to have their basic needs in life fulfilled. I saw people on crack... I said “people”; Neighborhoods of people. In my life I had only seen one here and there or heard stories... these last few days of driving around looking for my dog have been so eye opening for me because there is no escaping the reality of where I live.
For those Brazilians who are offended by what I am saying... I am not talking about you and I will speak my truth. I am talking about people who live 3 streets away and struggle every day for food and whom struggle every day for money and for a clean place to sleep if that even mattered anymore to them. I am talking about the people who do not have a choice of where they can send their kids to school and the kids who may never have a choice. It is a tough world out there and maybe not as tough for the people who have grown up in this manner for generations but when you are from a place where you have 3 styles of everything in 15 different colors it will open your eyes and change you. I can’t even begin to imagine myself in a life like what I saw today and I can’t imagine that for my children.
Maybe I sound too Naïve, but maybe I am. I will thank God every day for the life I have been given and spend the rest of my life trying to make it better for someone else.
If you are reading this… remember sometimes people can’t choose where they are in life and when you run into someone from another country or someone who is different from you, be patient with them and learn something new.
And for my dog, who has taught me another valuable lesson, please come home. We miss you.
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