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Posted March 23, 2009
A perfect read for a Book Club group or anyone interested in learning about real world Brazil and how to implement a truly effective grass roots educational organization. Willson takes us on a journey where we learn about Brazilian culture, we root for the individuals she meets and trys to help, we agonize with her over her efforts to keep the organization run by Brazilians, and we can't help but cheer on Bahia Street successes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 23, 2009
We read this book for my book club and I am so glad we did. It is something I would not ordinarily pick up, but I would have really missed a good read. This book tells first hand what it is like to adapt and live in a new culture and how much the author truly grew to love Bahia. She paints a very realistic, beautiful and fascinating portrait of the region, it's neighborhoods and most importantly it's people. I would highly recommend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2007
I loved how this book showed how someone can really make a difference. Margaret Willson was driven to do so and not just observe a condition of inequality passively. The people she began to study as an anthropologist and quickly grew to love were given a voice and listened to. She used her position in society 'North American, educated, middle class, and white' to accrue funding for the changes the people would like to see change, rather than what she might suggest. I enjoyed accompanying her as she aptly negotiated this territory of giving from British aristocrats 'with means' to U.S. college students 'with infinite idealism'. Willson funnels their desire to give and make a difference, back to the people. Her book articulates how complex the desire to help people can be. She shows how to make a difference without taking away people's dignity or power that charity or assumption of need can do. It leads one to question his/her own motives in such a situation. At times I could hear Willson's sense that the problems of race and inequality were deeper than her own reach. I thought this only drove her commitment to the integrity of her efforts and the autonomy of the people who deserved greater opportunities. The group of girls in the educational program for girls from the shantytowns that develops is inspiring. Their courage to commit to their own future was challenged not only by their supposed place in society but also sometimes by their own family's lack of support in seeking something more. I felt defeated when they did not get what they were due and elated with their triumphs. Her storytelling inspired me to act. When I finished the book, I discovered a blog at the Bahia Street website that let me keep reading and satisfied my curiosity about what happened next. I realized that buying this book put at least 3 books in the hands of a girl who wants to read and study against all odds. This book needed to be written. I read this book cover to cover--I'm sure you will too!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.