Cracked Pots in Sao Paulo’s Favelas

In 2010 Zeza (right) was looking for space for allotments, in 2012 the community wants to plant an orchard.


Volunteer Rob Errington is in Sao Paulo, Brazil seeing the work of CAFOD partners. His latest report sees him meeting a friend and finding that potential and not looks are what is important.

“4th November 2012

This morning at a Youth Catechism Meeting in Divineia, Elieni told us this story.

“The gardener had a plant pot which was cracked.  He asked the pot, `Can I use you to plant some flowers? ´ The plant pot said that being cracked, it wasn´t sure this was a good idea.  But the gardener asked again and again and eventually the plant pot said ´Yes´.  The gardener got some really good compost and put it in the pot and said, ´because you are so pretty you will give the greatest glory to God.´ And in springtime it was the flowers from the cracked pot that were the most beautiful.”

In Divineia we have been embraced by a community and treated as honoured guests.  Zeza, Tereshina, Maria and their families and friends greeted us with freshly baked bread and continued to feed our stomachs and our souls for the rest of the day.

At Mass we were asked to say a few words about ourselves and the work Connect2 does and in return we received a blessing from the whole of the congregation.   Later that afternoon we visited a Youth Drama Group and witnessed fun and laughter and optimism for the future.  And all day we talked and ate and laughed and shared our stories.

Before we left Zeza, Tereshina and Maria walked us round the favela and showed us where they are going to create their community orchard.  On first glance the conditions don’t look promising.    The space is not large and is on a steep slope overlooking a huge shanty town.  The land is full of stones and straddled by two large electricity pylons.  But as we walked round the favela and they showed us where they could make compost and what else they have achieved with the support of MDF and CAFOD their passion and their commitment overwhelmed us.  We were left in no doubt that he flowers they have already produced are indeed beautiful. We will see what the next springtime brings.”

Rob first met Zeza when she joined a group of CAFOD walkers on a pilgrimage from Durham to Holy Island in June 2011. For 8 days she shared stories with the group of her life and work for the Movement in Defence of Favela dwellers. (MDF)

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