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“Similiāntia”

Wow Thiago, you look like an Arab.”

It was Sunday, I parked my car in front of a Syrian friend’s house, who together with his family took refuge here in Brazil because of the war. As he entered the car he saw me and his reaction was of great shock. He said I looked like an Arab. If you were to see me today you would noticed that I currently have a few physical traits that resemble an Arabic man, the main resemblance is my long beard.

Three years ago, I went through a three months leadership course in our Centro de Capacitação de Lideres, YWAM- CCL. The course’s main focus was for each student to create a life project, where they would develop their values, goals and life mission etc. After the three months, I successfully completed the course that we call LTS. (Leadership Training School) . I discovered a new chapter in my life that I didn’t even know about, my passion for refugees! My project was aimed towards serving refugees. However, the school came to an end and a few years went by rapidly that I didn’t even keep up.  The truth is, when I realized how many years went by, I was similiantia to them, in other words, similar to them.

In the middle of 2015 I was strongly led by the Holy Spirit to do an advanced photography class in Curitiba, south Brazil. Today, I am also involved in the photographic scene here in the capital of Parana. I had the privilege of exposing some of my work in a book Roda de Fotografos that we released in the end of 2014. In this book can find my pictures that are related to abortion and Indigenous infanticide.  In this circle of photographers I made friends. Friends who don’t share my religious views, but have the same passion: document through pictures. God’s direction for me was to do an advanced course called FOTOGRAFIA VISCERAL. This course was based on photography as a life vocation. The friends I made during this course provided a platform, in which, I was able to materialize the beginning of my project to serve refugees.

I am dedicating myself to document the daily life of a few refugee families here in Curitiba. They are Syrian and Armenians. These are people who left their dreams and the life they are familiar with, because of the war.  They are extraordinary people in the sense that they have learned how to adapt to a new culture and new language, despite the many difficulties and challenges that the war place on their lives.

Thiago Souza – YWAM Harpenden Staff

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