Story of Floreni, Paranoá, Brazil

At what age did you learn to read and write?

I was 45 years old, when I started studying here in Paranoá.

Why did you not learn as a child?

I lived in a town called Vanderlei in the state of Bahia and there was no school there. Everything was difficult and there was no way I could go to school. Afterwards, when I came to the city, I started the struggle for survival and studying had to wait for later.

What was the most difficult thing about learning as an adult?

I found reading the most difficult. I think it is very complicated to understand all the letters and the words which they form.

Why did you want to learn?

I want to learn to drive a car very much. I think it is great and important. So I want to learn to read so that I can get my driver’s license. But I also want to read everything. I want to be able to go out anywhere and read everything that is written, to understand everything and to know what it all means.

What has it meant for you? How has your life changed?

When I began to read it seemed that everything became clearer for me. By reading I can get to know the world better. I think that I am really hooked on reading. I want to read everything I see! I want to discover new words, I want to understand things and I want to discover the world – and reading is an enormous help in all of this.

What would you like to say to other adults who cannot read and write?

Go and find yourself a school and try to learn because learning is great! When I didn’t know how to read I used to catch the bus by identifying the colour, I used to write the numbers on my hand and compare them with the number on the bus. If the number was the same then I got on the bus. Now that I know how to read and write I don’t catch the wrong bus. Everything in life is better when you know how to read and write. I already suspected that, but now I know that everything is really better.