Is the flamingo flight
The fig pulp
The Sunday afternoon
The milk and gooseberry
The collar of a red old shirt
Is the color of candy
And even if it weren’t a color
How sweet it would still be.”
(Pink, by Brazilian authors Lalau and Laurabeatriz)
Araçoiaba, 40 kilometers away from Recife, is one of Pernambuco state’s poorest cities. Around 85% of its 18,000 inhabitants subsist on less than US$ 2 a day. In addition, 80% of the kids live in rural areas – and often have to work in their families’ fields.
Still, when a classroom door opens at Maria Gayão School, pupils welcome visitors with verses they know by heart (like the ones above) and smiles. This is the only high school in town. “I like studying here because teachers are really nice. They treat us like family,” says 17-year-old Aleson Mota, who frequently gets there early to study in the library and meet his friends.
The school library, a source of local pride, was developed with the help of a World Bank project that sets quality standards for Pernambuco schools. Also a cafeteria and a computer lab were built, while classrooms, toilets and furniture were improved.
“Students help keeping the infrastructure in place because the school is their hope for a better life,” says principal Claudivan Claudiano. 1,645 students are currently enrolled, ranging from the 5th to the 11th grade.