Learning from Our Companions

Bonfim is a small city in the state of Roraima, Brazil, near the border with Guyana. A group of Jesuits has been living there five years now, learning to work with the poor. Of the city’s 15,000 inhabitants half are indigenous, mostly Wapixana and to a lesser extent Macuxi. About one-quarter of the population is also indigenous, but they don’t recognize themselves as such; they have no desire or interest in that identity; it doesn’t suit them. The remaining quarter consists of immigrants from various Brazilian states who settled here when Roraima was still a “territory”; they are poor people who came to try their “luck” in the north.