Portraits of happiness #1 – Laura [BRAZIL]

The first stop in Brazil and in general on this trip takes place on the road exiting Rio de Janeiro. The marriage stops – Lucas and Esther. We’re out of the way to go to Búzios, a town by the sea, 150 km northeast of Rio. There, we meet sister of Esther, Laura.


Laura is the mother of five children.She lives in Búzios with a younger four: Artur, Ricardo, Lorena and Pedro. The oldest, 19-year-old Bruno, works and studies. He helps Laura financially and every now and then comes to help take care after the kids.

We didn’t manage to make a portrait of Laura, but we have a picture of almost the whole family. From the left: Artur, Laura, Ricardo, Lorena and the smallest Pedro

During our visit kids are interested in the contents of our backpacks, visit the tent and even try their luck playing ukulele. In such a mess, we barely manage to conduct an interview, which of course is made in Portuguese – from our side it’s weak portuñol, on the other Portuguese words going out at the speed of the rifle shots. But no one said it would be easy.

MandO: What is your ordinary day like?

Laura: My work is my children. I take them to school, I feed them, I put them to sleep.

M & O: Why did you move to Búzios?

L: I’ve lived in a favela before. It was dangerous there, 2 times with my sister we were attacked and robbed. I moved to Búzios to make it safer for us and for children. To grow up in a quiet area, and have a chance to have a normal childhood, away from fear and violence.

M & O: What are your dreams?

L: That my children would grow up to be decent people. So they get education, find spouses and be happy.

M & O: And what does it mean for you to be happy?

L: To live in peace, have no problems.

M & O: What are you doing to be happy?

L: Nothing, I’m happy. I have children, we live in good health. This is happiness for me.

Even having only one child is difficult. I have five and I manage. Some people say they need wealth and luxuries to be happy. God gives everyone what he deserves. I deserved five children, that’s enough for me. Sometimes people ask me why I have so many children when I live in such a poor home. Why don’t I spend more funds on myself. I am a little saddened by such questions. But I can’t afford to worry about such trifles. If I were sorry for myself, I couldn’t have taken good care of the children. That’s why I always try to be happy. Happiness doesn’t come from things, but it comes from people inside. Both from within our loved ones and from inside ourselves.

We are extremely impressed by Laura, her perseverance and the enormous work she does with a smile on her face. Being in such a difficult situation, she took us home with open arms. We will remember this meeting for a veeery long time.

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