Eudo found a new home in Brazil, but missing his family still hurts (Photo: ADRA Brasil)

South America

Venezuelan Expat Shares the Meaning of "Saudade", Thanks ADRA for Support in Starting a New Life

Eudo Moreno and his family left Venezuela to rebuild their lives in Brazil

Brazil | ADRA Brazil

What does the word saudade mean? Some say it's impossible to translate it accurately because it goes beyond the laws of grammar and borders on feelings. In this context, the ADRA team shares a story of saudade and overcoming to try to explain this word a little bit more.

Eudo Moreno, a 50-year-old Venezuelan whose life journey exemplifies resilience in the face of unimaginable adversity, crossed the Brazilian border on March 14, 2018, weighing just 45 kilograms (approx. 100 pounds). He carried with him not only the physical marks of the scarcity he had experienced in Venezuela but also the pain of separation and the hope for better days.

"The lack of food in Venezuela led me to leave with great sadness, leaving my country, [as well as] a nephew," recalls Eudo, reflecting the mixture of feelings this decision entailed. Adapting to a new land presented immense challenges, especially because of the language barrier and cultural differences.

Extreme Difficulties

Life in Boa Vista, the capital of the state of Roraima, was marked by extreme difficulties. The following year, the Venezuelan received his entire family on Brazilian soil, and together, they were forced to work incessantly for minimal pay. However, the turning point in their lives came with their arrival in Manaus and their encounter with the Adventist agency.

"It was a year after our arrival that my wife got a job through an ADRA project called SWAN [Settlement, Wash, and Non-Food Assistance to Venezuelan migrants in Brazil]. That was a watershed moment for us," Eudo says, expressing his gratitude for the help they received.

According to Eudo, ADRA played a vital role in rebuilding his family's life, offering not only material support but also hope. As a volunteer with the organization, he has found a way to channel his nostalgia into positive action, helping other immigrants adapt to their new reality. "My aim is to offer the same kind of support we receive—a helping hand to those who need it," he says, stressing the value of solidarity and mutual support.

Longing

For Eudo, saudade is more than just a word; it's a feeling that takes him back to his roots and childhood in Venezuela. "The word saudade takes me back to happy times with my family. Despite the distance, I make a point of keeping our traditions alive," he shares, emphasizing the importance of preserving his cultural identity.

Behavioral psychologist Naila Eduarda offers an insight into the complexity of saudade: "It's an emotion that's hard to put into words, carrying both the pain of loss and the warmth of memories. For immigrants like Eudo, nostalgia can become a link that connects them to the past, while at the same time encouraging them to build a new future."

Dr. Eduarda stresses that Eudo's story emphasizes the ability of human beings to overcome obstacles and find a new sense of belonging far from home. "His journey highlights the importance of projects like ADRA's, which aim to support those seeking new opportunities," she says.

"Now I feel that this country is my home, too. I've learned a lot, and despite the challenges, these have been the best years of my life," reflects Eudo, who has found a new beginning and renewed hope in Brazil.

About the SWAN Project

The project that transformed the lives of Eudo Moreno and his family was SWAN, an ADRA initiative in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), which, in 2018 and 2019, respectively, supported the integration of Venezuelan refugees in Brazil.

This program helped relocate hundreds of immigrants who entered Brazil through Roraima and five other Brazilian states, providing not only aid to cover their immediate basic needs, such as housing, food and hygiene, but also promoting their full integration into Brazilian society in the long-term. The aim of the SWAN project was to ensure that these families built a new life with dignity and independence, redefining their histories in a new country.

To contribute to projects like SWAN, visit adra.org.br.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.

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