The story of the outgoing president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is another inspiring example of why there can be hope for those, growing up in the worst of circumstance, to make a better life for themselves. 

Born into poverty in Brazil’s impoverished northeast, at age 7 Lula came to São Paulo, where he was mistreated and beaten by an alcoholic father. He ovecame these obstacles to rise from a shoeshine boy to become the thirty-fifth President of Brazil.

An article in the Christian Science Monitor tells some of his story:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2010/0122/Brazil-Where-a-shoeshiner-became-president

“Born into poverty in Brazil’s impoverished northeast, at age 7 Lula came to São Paulo, where he was mistreated and beaten by an alcoholic father.

He left school to shine shoes and sell peanuts but returned to technical college to get the qualifications necessary to find a job as a metalworker in the area’s car factories.

There, after seeing his wife and son die in childbirth, he became active in the local union and rose to lead hundreds of thousands of workers in famous strikes at the end of the 1970s.”

The Wikipedia bio of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luiz_In%C3%A1cio_Lula_da_Silva

It takes a lot of faith, and of course some luck, to rise above the circumstance da Silva grew up in.

Questions – What lead you to your faith? What person(s) inspired you the most?

1) Buckminster Fuller is someone I related to because at the 32 he was a bankrupt and jobless, living in a housing project.  He had lost his daughter to polio, which he felt responsible for.  A complete failure in life.  On the verge of suicide he decided instead to embark on “an experiment, to find what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity”,

A great deal of what he wrote was, and still is, beyond my ablility to understand.  As a teenager I considered my self a complete failure like Fuller.  If it was possible for Fuller to change his life so completely so could I.

The Wikipedia bio of Buckminster Fuller:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckminster_Fuller

2) Stephen Jay Gould’s Natural History Essays, which were collected into the books “Ever Since Darwin” and “The Panda’s Thumb” led me to rediscovering my love of science, and reinforced the importance to me of critical thinking.  Such as the paradox that poor design is a better argument for evolution than good design, as illustrated by the anatomy  of the panda’s “thumb”—which is not a thumb at all—but an extension of the radial sesamoid.

The Wikipedia entry on Stephen Jay Gould

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Jay_Gould

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