Learn from you, learn from me

Thien Tran - Brazil


April 11, 2014

Ever since I’ve arrived in Joinville, I’ve been mentally struggling with the extent of religion within my host community. I can’t speak for most of the United States, but in my community back home, religion is a very private matter. Mostly everyone keeps their religion to themselves, never blatantly flaunting it. The difference between San Jose and Joinville is that religion is a huge matter for the citizens here. Everyone is proud of what they believe in and they made sure that you know that.  It seems like everywhere I go or anyone I meet, the topic of religion always seem to come up. Conversation starters here usually include, “Do you believe in god?” or “Are you *insert name of religion here*?

At first, I was definitely uncomfortable, questioning why such a private matter was asked so upfront? The more that I talked to the community members, the more I realized how spiritually connect to god they were. Everything that happens to them, it was because god has blessed them. This concept was quite strange to me. For me, coming from the United States, everything was based on how hard you worked. If you work hard to earn the money to buy a new book, then you will earn that new book. I kept my silence from a very long time not wanting to disrespect their beliefs, never wanting to question, never wanting to make a comment.

As times passed, my curiosity kept questioning the important question of, “Why do you think that it was god that has blessed you with these things?”.  One day, after lunch, I decided to just go for it and ask them.  They explained to me that it is their belief. They drew sources from the sacred texts in order to explain to me. From what I’ve heard, I could sort of put together the reasons why they would feel this way. After they finished explaining their reasoning, I explained mine. The belief that America has taught me since I was young, the belief of working hard to achieve what you want.

I may have not went into full details of this conversation that I had with my local community members, but that is not the point of this blog post. This overall experience has taught me to look from another prospective. There are things that we see and right away, we judge without hearing their side of the story. Hear both sides of the story, and then decide from yourself what I right for you. It is important to always speak up so that the mind does not have any misconceptions.

Thien Tran