Amigo Especial

By Rujen, Tufts 1+4 Participant

My road to Brazil was filled with struggles. From persuading my parents into participation in the program to obtaining a US tourist visa during Trump’s foreign policy period, I had to experience it all. I am an international student from Nepal and only after my second attempt to obtain a Brazilian visa (I was rejected in my first try in Nepal), I finally made it to Brazil.

I was enthusiastic about Brazil and what awaited me, but mostly delighted about making it to Brazil in the first place. My first week in Brazil went well and I was enjoying the so called ‘Honeymoon period.’ However, conflicts continued to haunt me. And this time, it was my apprenticeship. I was initially informed that I would be involved in ‘Training and Education.” I thought that I would be teaching English to teenagers or assisting professors as a teaching assistant, which I was passionate about. But, I was placed at a Crèche which is a daycare for children aged three-six. My work is to look after the children, assisting them to ‘play, eat and sleep.’ To be honest, I don’t have to do anything. Children learn to play, eat and sleep themselves. I was frustrated about my work. I thought that I was not contributing at all. I had no desire to work there.
During my second week, I was wandering around the field at my apprenticeship. Suddenly, one little girl approached me and caught my right hand. I could feel her tiny tender fingers as they clung to my palm. She said something to me in Portuguese which I could not understand. Later, I understood that she wanted to take a walk with me holding her hands. Her name was Isabely and she was four years old. I walked with her for some time. The next day, as soon as I entered the field, the same girl excitedly sprinted towards me and grasped my hands. I had never seen someone so cheerful to be with me. My supervisor told me that Isabely had chosen me as her ‘amigo especial’.
Isabely loved my companionship. Even though we did not talk too much, she enjoyed the short trip we took around the field. We walked around the buildings and playgrounds of the Crèche everyday. We would encounter funny situations and just smile at each other. Sometimes, she would ask me to carry her in my arms and touch tall stuffs like the leaves in the tree or the fan in the ceiling. She loved doing it and, more notably, I loved it too. I had started loving her companionship too. Her openness to a complete stranger perplexed me. She was so comfortable with me that I felt I had known her for years. The most difficult part for me was now to leave her at the end of the day. She was so connected to me that she would not leave my hands. I had to ask other teachers to call her to separate us. Soon, Isabely had become my reason to work at my apprenticeship. I go to my apprenticeship so that I can see her smile. I still don’t have much work there, but I have taken the responsibility of being a special friend. She is the one who has pushed me to work that extra bit and enjoy my apprenticeship. It is strange how a little girl changed the perspective of my apprenticeship. I had not imagined that I would have such a strong relationship with someone. I was against teaching children at first, but now I have started to like it. Isabely is surely special.

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