Brazilian Zoroastrians in the World Social Forum
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM IN THE CITY OF PORTO ALEGRE
Monday 15 January 2007, by Onaldo Alves PEREIRA
We, the Comunidade Asha, are a small but growing group of Brazilians who, after study and conscientious pondering, have decided that Asho Zarathushtra’s message best answers our soul’s quest for meaning by giving us illuminated eyes to see this world and progressing toward perfection.
This understanding of life gives a sound and revolutionary ground for devotion, ethics and philosophy, a complete set of tools to work for the improvement of ourselves and of society!
Having first gotten in touch with the Good Religion while I was studying theology in th USA in 1984, I read what I could find on it, tried to get in touch with Zarathushtrians and finally, in 2000, decided to have my navjote and start spreading what I could to my fellow citizens in Brazil. Since then I have translated the Gathas and small parts of the Avesta into Portuguese, published a book on the Good Religion called Fagullas do Fogo and dedicated my life to learn and teach the Deen.
I realize that not everyone in the Zarathushtrian community is okay with the coming in of outsiders and try to understand their reasons. What I know for sure is that Ahura Mazda is the welcoming source of all life and Asho Zarathushtra’s message is the most universal and open of all messages! This I know in the innermost of my heart and through reason! We would love to grow in unity with all Zarathushtrians of the world!
We participated in the World Social Forum in the city of Porto Alegre where we had a stand and proffered conferences on the Good Religion. In an event attended by more than 150 thousand people from over one hundred countries, we feared that our subject would go unnoticed, but to our great surprise and joy we could hardly meet the demand and our tent was always overflowing during our conferences.
We took nine people from our Comunidade Asha in Goiânia to help during the five days of event and we could hardly attend all the requests for talks, interviews and literature. We distributed 5 thousand pamphlets in Spanish, had hundreds of people asking for literature in different languages and shared over 30 thousand leaflets in Portuguese on the Gathic message. Besides we sold hundreds of our Gathas in Portuguese.
Some Kurds visited our stand and expressed a joyful surprise to find the Zarathushtrian religion in Brazil.
We traveled almost five thousand kilometers visiting people in different cities, handing out leaflets and donating Gatha samples to the local libraries.
Back to Goiânia we suffer with the meager resources to be able to keep in touch and develop all the contacts.
Yesterday we were in Paraúna getting to know the work Lorenzo and some of our other members are doing with children. After school they help the kids with their homework and teach them arts, theater and dance. Last afternoon they were working with 83 boys and girls.