In the United States, we exchange gifts and donate time or financial resources to charity during the holidays. In Brazil, many Christmas traditions are different than back home, but the spirit of giving is very much alive. Last weekend I was able to take part in the giving with my host family. We went to a poverty-stricken community and donated food to those in need.
I live in a state called Maranhão; it is one of the poorest in Brazil. The community we visited is made up of mud houses and dirt roads. Walking is the main mode of transportation. Basic needs like clean water, food, education, and a reliable source of electricity often go unmet. My host father and his friends recognized these problems while they were still in college and decided to do what they could to help. Since then they have been donating to schools and bringing food to hungry families in an effort to alleviate the burden on families living in those communities.
On Sunday we took food baskets to doorsteps and talked with the locals in order to better understand their situations. I met some interesting people and loved hearing the stories they had to tell. All in all, it was a good day; we delivered food to hundreds of people and it felt really good to help out in the community. Everyone should try to be a part of the giving this Christmas season.