Several months into my stay in the village of Santa Lucia in Northeast Brazil, I was sitting on a doorstep in the late afternoon with my friend Amauri. In the distance, a dust cloud moved slowly toward us. As it got nearer, the figure of a thin darkskinned man became visible, scythe held over one shoulder and pickaxe dangling from his other hand. The figure trudged closer and closer, finally stopping some yards from the house. “O Pa,” called out the man, sliding his scythe down and wiping the sweat from his face. “O Pa,” called back Amauri. “Enter! Enter!” he said, gesturing toward the house. “I won’t, no,” replied the man, “but I’ll have some water if I may.” “Of course,” replied Amauri, and he called into the darkness of the doorway: “Oh Katiana, anyone, fetch some water for Seu José.” Katiana emerged shortly with a glass of water for the man. He thanked her and gulped it down while we all watched, strangely transfixed. The man handed the empty glass back to Katiana and hoisted his scythe back onto his shoulder. He smiled vaguely, revealing toothless gaps in his still-young face. “Thank you, God bless,” he said and went on his way. Amauri and I sat there and watched the man as he walked off into the distance, his hole ridden T-shirt billowing gently with each stride. “Now there’s a man who loves his family,” said Amauri without a hint of irony.
KeywordsSexual Politics Moral Transgression Conjugal Relation Catholic Theology Spiritual Vitality
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