Sister Bride returned to Brazil to visit her projects there. She had spent 17 years of her life working in the desert of North East Brazil. Here she tells us about a young man called Gales.

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Gales, a father of 4, worked hard on New Year’s Day 2013 on his farm. Hard work was no stranger to him as he had tilled this land for many years, confronting the mountainy terrain with just hand farm implements. Things were now looking really good as he had been able to plant a larger area of land in the past few months, due to the new tractor.

This tractor was purchased by funds from Misean Cara (Irish Aid) and PAL for the benefit of 20 subsistence farmers and their families. Pal donated €15,000 towards the tractor. Although these had been given land they could only till a fraction of it as they only had simple hand implements. Finally it looked as if they were really going to be able to lift themselves out of poverty. As members of the Association of the Settlement of Good Hope, they now shared the use of the tractor.

Commenting on this he had said some months earlier ‘It is like a dream come true.’ With the new tractor, he was able to till and cultivate previously inaccessible steep hills, thus increasing considerably the produce he could sell at the market. They had good fresh fruit and vegetables to eat and for the first time ever, money left over!

But sadly, this young man will never see the full realization of his dream. He was brutally murdered on last New Year’s night, as he sat at home after a hard day’s work, watching TV with his wife and children.

These are the areas and social conditions in which Pal works. They are not burdened down by bureaucracy and red tape.

All money they raise goes directly to the projects in Latin America with no overhead costs. Here is some of what the people themselves said, as a result of having the tractor.

‘I was able to harvest 35 bags of corn in 2012 due to using the tractor, as compared with just 3 bags of corn in 2011.’

‘I was able to continue to transport my vegetables to the market during the rainy season’.

‘I was able to collect manure for my farm using the tractor so my level of production increased’.

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