Antonio Carlos: I Miss Her

Antonio Carlos: I Miss Her

By: Tania Mendes, Brazil Communications Specialist   |   Posted: February 15, 2006

Antonio Carlos

Antonio Carlos is a shy boy, but he isn't ashamed to say that he misses his mother. Though only 10 years old, he has already suffered a great deal  his mother died from an illness in 2003, and his father, a drifter, hasn't sent any notice for a long time.

Antonio Carlos would be alone in the world if he didn't have his sisters, 18-year-old Julianana and 13-year-old Andreza. He lives with his sisters, Julianana's 10-month-old son Leandro Gabriel, and Leandro Silva, baby Leandro's 19-year-old father.

Because rain destroyed Antonio Carlos' house in Rio de Janeiro last year, the five of them live in a small shanty with only a single bed, a stove, a chest of drawers and a small television. The walls are made of pasteboard, and the stove is close to one of the walls  all this results in Antonio Carlos living in a dangerous environment.

While Antonio Carlos waits for the city to build another house for his family, they continue to live together without decent housing.

Antonio Carlos doesn't like to talk very much, but he does enjoy attending the Compassion child development center. According to his older sister, he is now calmer than he was before and has more friends. He is learning many things, including good manners. Antonio Carlos likes all of his teachers because they are good to him and teach him well.

His family does not attend church, but sometimes Antonio Carlos goes to church alone. "He is a good boy. Sometimes he cries. He misses his mother ... our mother," says Juliana, almost crying.

Antonio Carlos doesn't have big dreams  he just wants to be a bus driver when he grows up. This may be true because he doesn't have a mother or a father to guide him. All he has is a sister with the tremendous responsibilities of taking care of herself, a baby and two siblings.

The Compassion project has been helping Antonio Carlos to get past his sorrow and, with time, he may learn that he's able to become more than a bus driver  much more.

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