Once Upon a time…

Since 1993 I had been helping the children of Emílio Ribas Hospital in several ways, buying toys for the parties that were periodically held, for bingos, and organizing the collection of meal coupons for the purchase of milk.

As time went by, I felt the urge to get to know a little more of the children I was helping, and with a vague idea of what I would like to do, that is, observe the world from another angle, the children's eyes, what they feel, what they think, what they want - which would be very easy because we already had this opportunity one day - difficult would be to enter a world where most of these children are sick, needy, and as if it weren't enough many without families.

One day, with my niece Violeta on the phone, I told her how the hospital environment frightens children, and mentioned how much I would like to change this, even if only a little. Then Violeta heard me and said, "Uncle, read to them. I quickly planned a way to tell stories, the night before my presentation. I unplanned everything, and do you know why?

Through a conversation with Wellington Nogueira, a friend for more than 15 years, who is also Dr. Zinho from Doutores da Alegria [Doctors of Joy], I understood that to be with children you don't need to plan anything, anything goes. Just start the engine of attention and respect that they deserve. I understood that in this way, any place can become an enchanted place. And that is how I decided to give wings to my imagination.

On August 17, 1997, I began what I can call a quantum leap in my life. From then on, I started to listen more and only speak the essentials, to be more careful with my "words," to allow Pinocchio and Gepetto to receive help from the Powers Rangers to get out of the whale's belly, Cinderella can even have bunions, and we adults can even feel happy when we hear a "no" like this: "no, I don't want to hear the story today. That's right! A no can be particularly important for someone who can never deny the needles, the medicines, the treatments in a hospital.

Volunteering is currently a much-discussed topic in Brazil. But this subject has long been part of the human essence: charity, love, tolerance, and many other positive values. Exercising it is what makes the difference.

Live and let live (Viva e deixe viver) is an exercise in citizenship, it is the ability and the possibility to build or transform, it is the cooperation of our "storytellers and story-makers" for a more dignified world, especially for our children, who will make Brazil a happier country.

Put on our apron and be part of this story.

The best story is the one you learn by telling.

Valdir Cimino