The world cup is coming! The England flags are all over houses and cars now…
And with it a lot of questions and doubts. I can’t tell how many times in the last few weeks I have been asked the same question when people find out I’m originally from Brazil
“Do you think is going to be ok?”
I honestly don’t know…
In a way it makes me sad that is the question in most people’s minds in such exciting time. It’s not because I come from the football country that I say the world cup is exciting. It was actually spending the world cup in Italy and here in England that it made me realise how incredible it is. People of all likes and backgrounds united interested in one subject. It makes us more open and willing to learn and know about other cultures, specially the host nation.
And the country I grew up has so much interesting things to offer! People’s hearts are much bigger than the violence that has always shadowed the streets. But yet the only positive things that people know about Brazil are how hot it is and how wonderful the beaches are. Yes people here know all about the favelas, violence, prostitution, drugs, crime, gangs, the poor state of the education and health systems and how much people are unsatisfied with the government and corruption. And they all think Brazilians don’t want the world cup in Brazil and with it all the people that would come.
So I feel I need to say something to defend where I’m originally from. Yes it’s a country I decided not to live my life because of all it’s problems but still there are so many wonderful things about it. Maybe the very best is its people, hard working, fun friendly! An example of resilience and creativity. Our very survival depends on it. It’s ironic that normally it’s in the poorest that you most easily find happiness and gratitude like nowhere else.
It’s a country of opposites, where you can find the most rare and exotic animals but if you kill one you go to jail for many more years than if you kill a person. Where beautiful cities like Brasilia are planned and built in the most inhospitable landscape, but builders still die in a regular basis as if it was part of their job. Where hard working poor people spend everyday of their lives making ends meet to support their families whilst the rich corrupt people, companies and politicians that are only worried about possessions and to cleverly get even richer.
The extreme also is in our nature and landscapes, from deserts to forests, beaches to swamps, hot and cold weathers (yes there are parts of Brazil that can get very cold!). It carries on in our history, according to it we were discovered just over 500 years ago but that doesn’t mean there were not people living here before, the indigenous peoples. But even with just “in the books” history we have been through a lot: fight for our freedom, slaughter, wars, revolution, slavery, exploitation, dictatorship, civil wars…
You will also find that Brazilians are very welcoming and highly adaptable. It’s the origin of who we are. There is not a pure blood Brazilian. We are made up of so many different nations and cultures, Indigenous, Europeans, Africans, Japanese, Chinese, Jews, other South Americans… If you research emigration of different people you will probably find that the biggest settlement outside their home countries are in Brazil.
But I guess we'll have been so beat up by life and difficulties that we have this characteristic of thinking everyone is better than we are. It makes me sad that its maybe what it will be shown to the world. But I know the beauty that exists in this beautiful vast country and it's people and I hope you will see it too.
Happy World Cup!
Ps.: to the Brazilians I say what my mom used to say, dirty clothes we wash not in front of our guests… The problems will carry on after the world cup and will take a while to solve but this is the opportunity to show all the good we have to offer! That’s the only thing that can bring positive change and respect.