The longer I live here the more I come to understand that the human spirit needs very little to be happy.
Understanding the poverty that exists here has been a journey for me. At first my snobby first world head was appauled and kept complaining about how awful it is that people live like this and I must help them. But getting to know these people I have realised that they are some of the happiest people I know. They never complain and seem to be very accepting of their lot in life.
Last Friday my husband and I went to help his father organise an event for teenagers at their church. There were quizzes, dinner and a sleepover - which luckily we didn't stay for.
My mother-in-law (centre) with the women volunteers - the sisters are behind
The whole thing went really well and on the way back we gave a lift to two sisters who had voluteered their time to cook the dinner - which was for about 50 people.
They live outside Maringa, in Sarandi which is know as a 'favela' (a slum) and where most of this city's poorer workers live. These two women were so happy and full of stories about their lives and how wonderful it was to be alive etc. I felt so humbled seeing how simply they lived and I was glad to have had the opportunity to get to know them first-hand.
I am looking forward to many such encounters in the future.