A bus ride’s window to Brazil

I remember Jon Steel, former Global Planning Director for WPP, telling me once that as a planner, if you want to really understand people or a place, you need to ride the bus.

It truly is a window to the reality of where we live at any given moment, the people and the culture. And it’s fascinating.

Here in Brazil, tomorrow, everything locks down again.

The numbers of people being infected is extremely high. People I know are now dying. And they are my age. This strain is scary. Yesterday, close to 3000 people died in Brazil.

3000. That’s a lot of people.

And although the government says it will be only a two week lock down, I think we all know we have a tough few months ahead. In so many respects.

With no vaccines being bought, it’s hard to know how long this will last for. And the longer term impacts of no vaccines on a place like Brazil, and the rest of the world. They are saying 6 months of carrying on like this, and there will be a new strain that none of the vaccines will cover….

But yet, there are still these glimmers of light, hope, love and insights that you see in the strangest of places.

Like the bus.

I was just told this story today that inspired this text.

Yesterday, a man entered the bus with a large container of good quality hand sanitizer.

He started to clean the hand rails. And other places that people put their hands.

And then went row by row and asked everyone to hold out their hands, while he squeezed the gel so everyone could freshen up.

He then went to the front of the bus and explained that he’s not working. And needs to find a way to make money to feed his family. And buy more hand sanitizer, so he can continue to work.

This story reminded me of the legend of the Hummingbird, told by one of our NGO partners, Iracambi. The story, which can be heard throughout the Americas, goes like this:

Once upon a time, there was a fire in the forest and all the animals were fleeing. All except the hummingbird. She was flying towards the fire with a drop of water in her beak. “Silly little bird,” shouted the eagle, soaring above her, “Don’t you realize you’ll never put out the fire all by yourself?” The hummingbird flew onto towards the fire and dropped the water. Then she looked up at the eagle. “You’re right,” she said, “I’ll never do it by myself. But I’m doing my part.”

As things get tough over here, I still feel a real sense of hope.

I feel reassured that we are also doing our part to help.

And so inspired to be connected with so many others who also feel compelled to find a way to lead and change the world with their talents and what they know. And they are doing that by being involved with TIE.

We have just started our next TIE Accelerator programme, pairing with Barefeet theatre with four other leaders bridging 4 different industries and professions.

We are coming to the end of our TIE Accelerator programme with Iracambi and six leaders from four different countries around the world.

And have just finished our TIE Advisor programme with two CEOs working with the Founders of Shaishav, an Indian child rights NGO.

I am just so grateful to everyone that is involved with TIE, who feels connected to our mission, and who also feels compelled to be that agent of change the world needs.

It’s time. Let’s change things!


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