Of Cities and Children

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller

The city of São Paulo with its twenty-three million is divided into many suburbs each with its skyscrapers. So from any high point it seems so endless and strange. See what I mean?

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But when a person gets down to street level it is so different. If I remember correctly this street, named São Bento is part of the center of the city and closed to traffic. Ordinarily there are no vehicles for people have taken over. Generally the

São Bento street is great for shopping even though there are shopping malls in all of the suburbs.

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All Brazilians have some artistic blood flowing in their veins and it shows in this city. Even in the center of the city where a meter of soil is worth its weight in gold, the city fathers have left space for parks that include beautiful palm trees.

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But no matter the beauty of their parks and skyscrapers, it is the people that are truly beautiful. No doubt during the Olympics you heard lots of negative things about this country—even the impeachment of their president. But I want you to see and remember the people—so wonderfully kind and welcoming to those of us who stumbled along with Portuguese. This picture of young people is the youth group of a congregation that our VISA volunteer group was helping with the construction of their church building.

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And we cannot forget the children—how wonderful and charming. Our churches reach out to them with church programs, schools and other efforts to encourage them along life’s way—a route at times that families and their children find difficult.

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The Volunteers In Service Abroad have worked with our bishop José Ildo de Mello and our valued friend and contact Luiz Roberto da Silva. Here we are making plans for the work of just one of our groups that have visited and worked there—with those children, youth—in fact everyone we’ve been able to touch.

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