drowning in debt in brazil

Veronica Barrera - Brazil


December 20, 2018

To start off this story let me tell you about my apprenticeship:

I work at a underprivileged and pernicious location known as a *favela. *It’s
an afterschool program for kids ages 4-16 and they spend around 4 hours
playing soccer, training muy thai / Brazilian jiu jitsu, acting classes, or
playing with toys and their friends. There’s days we go on trips to the
beach, sand dunes, or bouncy places for kids. I spend my time teaching
English and Spanish or coming up with ways to keep them busy. Anyways I
love these kids, they’re too much sometimes but at the end of the day I
remind myself I was too much to handle too so who am I to judge. Anyways I
can go on and on talking about the kids and my apprenticeship but I’ll just
show some recent pictures I took;

So.. I’m in debt in brazil. A chocolate debt, it started off as a candy
debt but I negotiated my way out. One day I was doing interviews for a
project me and my 3 friends are working on together. I was trying to make
the kids cooperate with me but they wouldn’t want to participate, were too
shy, or too “cool” in my apprenticeship *Geraçao Da Chico. *So I brought
out candy and now I had mad kids wanting to be recorded for an interview. I
only had a limited amount of candy because I didn’t expect a lot of kids to
participate even with candy. So finishing up I had my co-worker and one
girl who sort of did an interview but sort of didn’t either, come up to me
every 10 minutes saying you didn’t give me candy, you’re mean, why would
you give those kids and not us. I was like fine I’ll bring you both
chocolate tomorrow and they argued with me that they wanted sweets and then
I brought out the “you get what you get and you don’t be upset” and little
bit of “*cala boka cara*” and they were alright with chocolate. The next
day I secretly gave the chocolate to my co worker and now she’s fine with
it. However, I secretly gave chocolate to the other girl which she’s only
11 years old. I told her to keep it quiet because I didn’t want to make the
other kids jealous. I was leaving the door and then I was attacked by 5 11
year old girls yelling at me and nagging to me about not getting them
chocolate. This one girl had a point she said “I didn’t do an interview but
I still helped by giving you information so I deserve chocolates” so I owe
her a chocolate bar. And then the rest of the girls were like that’s not
fair, you love her more, bla bla bla. I told them I’ll each give them one
chocolate bar each. I still haven’t gave those 5 angry girls there
chocolate yet and they remind me every hour. And when I’m walking to go
home I have other kids begging to bring them candy tomorrow. I’m no longer
seen as a human. I’m seen as a dealer for chocolate. Well not even a
dealer, because a dealer gets something in return when giving something so
I’m more like that “American girl who gives us candy”. Before I use to be
“That teacher who’s from America and speaks Spanish and plays games with
us”. The program will end for the summer soon so, my debt will stay with me
forever until I see them again. Haha kids are so manipulative. Aren’t kids
the best?





Veronica Barrera