It was night, and it was raining....
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Letter to Friends around the World # 88

Rosário is a lawyer and uses all her skills to help people from very poor neighbourhoods and slums of Belo Horizonte. She fights against arbitrary evictions and the many forms of violence that they endure.

I walked down the street, under the balconies to shelter myself from the rain. He was there; every day I see him, I watch him. I admire him . . . As someone who is not involved in the "important things" of our capitalist world - "big business deals", "big competitions" - he simply stays there under the same balcony, and feeds the birds. I'll call him José.

José lives in the street. We chat now and again and his words reveal a great wisdom, with something almost divine. He smiles, he says little, his sentences are short ... On that day, I could not resist and I asked him if I could take a photo of the scene that I had seen so often: birds coming to eat out of his hand. I thought of Francis of Assisi and so many people, brothers and sisters of nature and of every human being . . . I lingered a long while, with no desire to leave . . . And I thought to myself: there are people who take street people to be bandits and say that they are violent, as did the Journal of the State of Minas not so long ago.

They say they scare people . . . but deep in my heart, I ask myself: What is it that frightens people the most? Is it scenes like this of a person who lives in the street? Or rather, the total lack of any ethical sense and of any humanity as reflected in that newspaper article? Thank you, José, for these encounters, which are helping me to grow in my love and tenderness. On those days, I return home a different person.

Rosário C.,

Brazil