GRATITUDE FOR GOOD
A Blog by Gratitude Alliance
By Chiara Cerri
I have always loved writing stories since I was a child. I devoured books, imagined other lives, other houses, and other places where life flowed differently.
I was closed in myself and just traveling with my imagination.
When I discovered photography I found out that there was another way to write and tell stories. It took awhile to figure it out, but after the first trip alone I realized that the world is full of stories. They do not need to be invented. They are all there at our fingertips.
You just need to look out the window, leave home, get on a plane.
In the five months that I spent in Brazil I understood a bit more about myself: you can live with 3 pairs of slippers and one pair of shoes for long time. This is probably banal, but not too much. Very often we do not imagine that we are able to take a break from ourselves.
I was living in this favela, the largest in South America, which since 2011 has been "pacified", like many others in Rio de Janeiro. A pacified favela means that almost every day there are shootouts between police and drug traffickers. Blood flowing along the becos (narrow streets of favelas), shots that set the pace of time.
The first time that I saw armed police wandering the streets, I immediately thought about the kids that are living there and I immersed myself in their eyes: every day I see policemen with guns pass in front of their home and live with the fear that a shooting could begin.
How many sad stories can these kids can tell us? Can you believe that despite this they are full of vitality and joy?
When I found Global Alliance Gratitude I understood that this job can give me the chance to use my time better and to combine my passion for communication and social change.
I believe in gratitude. One day I had a simple example of what is. It was evening, I was walking home when I met one of my students: an adult woman who is always cheerful and kind. She immediately invited me to dine with her, I agreed and so we improvised.
We spent a few quiet hours: eating, laughing, joking about the food that was in late, silences and smiles.
When I got back home after awhile I got a long message on Facebook. It was from her. She thanked me a thousand times, that the time with me had been something special.
She told me that something really bad had happened in her life in the days before and she felt dead inside.
The time she had spent with me made her feel better, even though I didn't know anything about her problems.
She was just grateful for that. I asked myself: what have I done that is so important?
Then I realized that it was the time, I just gave my time to a person.
Time we have can be a valuable tool.