Articles From the September 1995 Unification News
In Brazil, Center-Stage in the Providence
by Tessa Squizzato-Sao Paulo, Brazil
I was raised in England and met the church in the U.S.A. in 1978. In 1980 I was matched to Dr. Francisco Squizzato, a Brazilian lawyer. We were Blessed in Madison Square Garden in 1982 and I came to Brazil in June 1983.
At that time everyone was going to the United States, being called by Father to help the providence there. So I had a huge internal conflict about "deserting" the providence. After much prayer, I received the revelation that I should go to Brazil to help make a foundation for the future, when the providence would move there. It was quite difficult to believe, as no one ever mentioned Brazil, and during the years here it was also hard to keep faith in this revelation as we seemed to be rather "off the map" in regard to the central providence.
Now that everything has suddenly changed about here in Brazil, and Father is here so much, it's hard to believe that we went through that "dry" time. I see now how it was all a preparation time, guided by Rev. Kim Hyung Tae's vision and faith.
When I arrived, I immediately saw the immense potential of this land. Huge fruits and vegetables grow freely without any help from man. The land is rich in ore and precious stones and is one of the most beautiful countries that you can imagine, with so many variations. It is so very difficult to describe Brazil as a nation because it is enormous, more like a Europe with the mixture of cultures and traditions.
In the south of Brazil you could be in Europe itself-Germans and Italians settled there and developed the land. It is very ordered, rich, clean and well-organized. I was lucky enough to live in the south for one year in 1984, where our first child was born. Florianopolis is a wonderful place, a city on an island surrounded by beaches. It is a favorite for Argentinian tourists to visit.
Many people, when they hear of Brazil, think only of poverty-stricken slums, backwardness and Indians. Brazil is much, much more than this. In this article I'd like to show a little of the other side of Brazil- the Brazil that isn't the Amazon, Indians, "favellas" and the Carnaval. But first I'd just like to mention some things that I noticed about the above. I really feel quite sorry for the Indians as there are not so many of them and they are rigidly "protected" by over-eager naturalists, so they have no freedom at all to choose what they'd like to do in life. The Carnaval takes place for one week in February, and during that time the majority of Brazilians go to visit relatives or escape to the beach. Poverty exists and there are some underdeveloped areas that really need a lot of love and attention. This problem could easily be resolved once the resources of this country are distributed more fairly, which can come about through re- education. The educational situation in most of Brazil needs to be improved, but there is huge potential and some already excellent schools and universities, especially in the southwestern part of the country. Potential is the key word for Brazil. I know it is ready to explode into growth with the slightest encouragement.
Returning to my time in Florianopolis, while I was there I held various art exhibitions and visited other galleries of a high level. We opened a cultural center where I taught English and painting. We also had other language teachers for German, Spanish and French. All the students were of a very high level-engineers, medical students, etc. I was deeply moved by their heart. What could be misunderstood perhaps by some as simplicity, I see as a pureness of heart coming out spontaneously in so many ways. Brazilians want to be of help. My parents were so amazed at the sacrificial attention of a porter at the bus station who looked after them until his shift was over, when he told in detail my parents' situation to the porter who was taking his place. Then he went to change and go home. But instead of going home he waited until their bus arrived and he had safely seen them onto it before he left (also refusing any kind of tip). One of my medical students so very kindly took me (enormously pregnant) to various art exhibitions, also driving me all over the island to show me the sights. Other female students organized a "baby tea" ("cha de nene") when they saw that soon my son would be born. I was overwhelmed as they all gave me such wonderful presents. One Brazilian boy whom I was helping on his spiritual path insisted that he had too many material things and thrust his gold watch at me to give to my husband.
As you can see, they are an extremely generous people. They always want to serve the very best they can. I'm always so impressed at how they treat visitors. They pile the tables high with all kinds of delicacies: cheeses and marmalades, cakes and different kinds of bread (many times home-made, sweet and plain), juices, teas and coffee. The mother of the house always serves herself last, first seeing that everyone else is satisfied. It's very beautiful to see. When on a witnessing mission, going house to house, it's difficult to get through the day without putting on weight, as they really feel quite put out if you don't accept what they offer!
Because of different missions, I have been blessed to have seen most parts of Brazil; the Amazon forest and Manaus, where the rivers meet, flowing side by side, black and brown. There I saw the beautiful buildings from the colonial times, theaters, enormous houses and grounds, straight out of old Portugal! At night everyone is out on the sidewalk chatting to the neighbors.
I lived for a year in 1983 in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, and watched the enormous ships taking the deep red iron ore off to Japan. One of the first things I noticed was how much construction is going on in Brazil. Wherever you go, you can see new buildings and houses going up. I have seen an enormous change in the last twelve years here. At first I felt that the people were going through an "adolescent" stage, but I now see that Brazil is "coming of age"-and beautifully.
I now live in Itu, Sao Paulo, which is an old Colonial town where the Republic began. The streets are cobbled, the houses have been reformed with taste and painted in the most wonderful pastel shades (or the traditional blue and white). On the outskirts of the town are many closed residential areas, with beautiful, huge houses built in every style imaginable around the lakes and on the river banks. This is the other side of Brazil-the rich and technically advanced side.
Sao Paulo is an enormous city (coming in by plane, you can only see highrisers for as far as the eye can see in every direction). It has many shopping centers-all mirrors, brass tubing and moving staircases with the luxurious palms reflected in the plateglass windows full of the latest fashions. Brazilians are very fashion-conscious and love to be beautiful, taking great care of their looks. I've seen-not once but many times-people coming out of their simple wooden homes in sparkling white clothes.
Now that Collor opened the doors to imported goods, the roads are full of Mercedes, BMW's, Mitsubishis and all the latest blown glass shapes in cars. The well-groomed drivers are usually seen talking into their cellular telephones. And there are lots of cars! In the last two years, the traffic has grown in Sao Paulo at an alarming rate. The airports are always full of the most sophisticated-looking people, embracing and crying in each other's arms. I've still got English blood and have to admit that it's pretty overwhelming to come back from Europe to find more than 30 friends and family with banners and flags waving wildly with joy as one walks through the barrier! It touches me really deeply.
There's so much to tell of Brazil. It's such a colorful country-even within the peoples! Black, white, yellow and brown all live together in harmony. Where else would you find Koreans, Japanese and Chinese all living together in Japantown? I won't say that there's no prejudice here, but it's not between the black and white races, but more towards the populace of certain parts of Brazil. But having lived in America and felt the intense climate between races there, I think you could almost say that here there is not much prejudice at all.
Within the church I have seen miracles happen. Rev. Kim Hyung Tae wants with all his heart to give joy and comfort to True Parents. With his faith and strength of purpose he has substantialized his dreams with the help of many truly wonderful brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters who knew next to nothing about construction have been trained, and then built the most beautiful temple for our True Parents, as well as a large and luxurious apartment for their living quarters. The members made the doors, windows, shelves, etc. They molded the plaster moldings (really beautiful flowers and birds). They cut and polished the granite and marble for the floors and walls. So much investment and sacrifice went into these buildings, from the earning of the money to the hanging of the last chandelier. Brazil owes so much to Rev. Kim, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him and ask God's blessings on him for all he has done for this nation, and for all he will do in his new mission as Father's ambassador for Latin America.
Brazilians are very sensitive people, eager to believe in the good of people and so easily hurt when deceived. Some are like delicate eggshells which can be crushed by too rough handling and others have such deep faith, continuing in the most difficult situations. For example, in 1981 when all the centers were destroyed and there was terrible persecution of the members, most of them came through with stronger faith. In 1983 our center was also completely destroyed and brothers and sisters were left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Their faith and perseverance during those trying times was beautiful to see.
One very special characteristic of all Brazilians which I can't omit is their very particular "jeitinho" (way?). All Brazilians have a "jeitinho" which is impossible to translate but includes the ability to fix a broken car, wire up a house, build a house (wooden or brick), and generally get done whatever needs to be done, not necessarily in the most traditional of ways but certainly in the most creative! My husband is a lawyer, university professor, TV and radio interviewer, but in the most unlikely moments is capable of rolling up his sleeves and "fixing" the problem, whatever it may be. Fantastic!
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