It was a beautiful sunny day of July, 2009. I was tired of the long hours spent on that car trip, coming from the south of the country all the way to the center of it: Brasilia. I watched the road grow, from one to five lanes. The closest we were getting, the widest the road was. The windows of the car were open, and I felt the warm wind on my face, which had a smell of burned grass. July is the month of the sun in the brazilian biome called “cerrado”, so it’s common to see the trees and the grass naturally drying and catching fire. And alongside the road, I observed the gorgeous landscape of really long fields of golden trees and grass, sometimes mixed with a spark of fire.
The warmth of the wind made me sleepy and in a certain moment I entered on a deep sleep, and woke up on the next day in a very big hotel room, with a stunning view of the Paranoa lake, which was sparkling with the sunlight. “ Sofia, get up quickly! We don’t want to get on a big line!” said my tired mom with an angry voice. On that day, we were going to visit the chamber of deputies, the chamber of senators and the official residence of the president: the Alvorada Palace. I got up, brushed my teeth and dressed myself. I didn't know it then, but that day was going to change the way I used to see my country.
Me and my parents got into a cab and went all the way to the Esplanade of Ministries, right in front of the National Congress. My dad told me and my mom to wait there in the front of the congress meanwhile he would buy the tickets. He was with a disgusting face, like he didn’t want to be there. It took us around 20 minutes to get them, but for me it was like an hour. I was anxious to see the inside of both chambers, curious to see how the “ House of Democracy” worked. You know, those things about politics and economics were always on the news, and I tried to pay attention and understand what was happening, but neither me nor my mom knew exactly what was going on. It was 2009, a year after the 2008 crisis, so the government was articulating what to do to keep the growth of the economy. And of course, in 2009 the “ Mensalão “ investigation was going on, and the politicians were desperate to save themselves from going to jail. Finally, my dad came back from the ticket booth and we started our way to the chambers.
In the entrance of the buildings, we saw a lot of men in suits with folders in their hands, rushing around. “ Apparently there’s a lot of work to be done in here, these men look so busy!” I said to my dad. He laughed, and I didn’t understand why. As we arrived at the chamber of deputies, a guide explained us what the role of a deputy is and what the objective of voting on someone is so that you can be represented by them. I was amazed by the process of creating a law and being a congresswoman. “ This is incredible. Those guys come in here, create a law, put it to vote and then the law starts to value all over the country. I wanna be a congresswoman when I grow up ! “ I said, with a really loud and cheerful voice. My mom laughed, but my dad was mad. He looked at me with a disgusting face. “ We will discuss that later …” he said, whispering in my ear. I was so confused, how could my dad not support my decision?
Despite my dad’s bitterness, the day kept going, with a golden and warm sun. After the chamber of deputies, we went to the senate. There, we listened to a presentation about how the senate works, what the role of a senator is … practically the same thing of the chamber of deputies. I still thought that being a deputy was cooler than a senator. After that, we went to the Alvorada Palace, the official residence of the president. The closer we got to the palace, the more excited I felt. There was a beautiful garden, with a lot of Emas ( which is an animal similar to an ostrich), but a garden wasn’t enough to make me calm. I wanted to break through the fence, run to the president’s office, shake his hand and present my ideas to him. “Unfortunately” that wasn’t possible …
At the end of the day, my mom was exhausted and went back to the hotel. Me and dad went to the esplanade of ministries to see the sunset. We sat on the grass and looked at that long esplanade. My dad was very focused … the words he told me changed my life. Here’s what he told me, on that warm and sunny evening:
“Sofia, look at all those squared buildings. Each one of them contains on average, 150 to 200 offices. Now, look behind you. The senate and the chamber of deputies must contain an average of 600 offices or more. That beautiful speech you heard about how politicians want to change the country and help the people, just forget about it, they don’t care about that. They want more of you, more of me, more of your mother. The money to support the government and it’s luxuries, comes from taxes paid by everyone. Sofi, compare the sun with the government. We can only survive with the sunlight because the sun is in a perfect distance from earth. But if it gets closer, plants die, the water disappears and we are all gone. The same thing with the government: the good it can do is limited, but the harm, infinite.”