It has been a long way to go.
Renan is 23 years old. He was born and raised in Rocinha, South America's largest and most famous favela. The challenges have been many. His wonderful mom Carolina Maria has worked day and night to offer all the best a family can offer for Renan and his sister. It has never been lacking in love or care. But now she has been unemployed for a year.
Renan completed the seaman course "Moco de Conves", directed by the Brazilian Navy in 2015. With excellent grades. Even though he could not swim when he was indicated to the course. Expectations for job were high after graduation. From our first group of 5 sailors in 2013, everyone got immediate opportunity for work in Farstad Shipping after completing the course. That was his reference. Optimism was great. The joy and pride on graduation day even bigger. For all of us.
8 graduate sailors were to be given deserved credit. They would receive their diplomas as clear evidence that they were ready for a professional career. There was a formal ceremony where family, friends, sponsors and Karanba participants were gathered. As the group's representative, Renan had prepared himself well for his speech:
"Dear friends, No one lives just to live, everyone is here, not just to be one more but to make a difference. We are our own author and write our story as well as we can. It is enough that someone gives us an opportunity to show that we are capable of realizing our dreams. In most cases, just the opportunity is missing. But when it appears, we take good care of it and show those who gave us the opportunity that we were worth investing in. That was what we needed. A possibility. Thank you very much Karanba for the opportunity we have received! We recognize the importance of the project for us in our own development. Thank you!"
It is said that patience is a virtue. Football World Cup in Brazil 2014 and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016 passed. Then came the oil and political crisis here. Everyday came brutally. And the possibilities were absent. The wait was longer and longer. Until now. On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Renan was called to work. At the time of writing he is on a boat. At work.
In Karanba, Renan has always been dedicated. He has been a participate since 2008. Day in and day out he has dedicated himself to something we all have a great deal of faith in - changing lives through opportunities given through football. Three trips to Scandinavia with tournament victories in Dana, Gothia and Norway Cup are some of the highlights.
What he best remembers from his early Karanba years are the homemade sandwiches and bananas that were just enough to cope with everyday life. But our biggest victories are those we win off the pitch. Those who ensure everyday, life give us opportunities for the future and change lives!
Soon Renan receives his first salary. Soon, the family will get more financial stability. Soon he can take the responsibility he has long dreamed of for his family. His mother will be helped to cover the most necessary costs. The dream that one day they can own their own house is a big step closer. Renan in person stands as the proof that dreams can come true.
A particularly pleasant phone call is about to end. Renan is on a boat, will soon be ready for tomorrow's challenges and needs to sleep. We have talked for an hour and he just reminds me of commenting: "Thank you Farstad for believing in me! I will do my best. "
It's hard to talk about these stories without crying. Fortunately, it's easier to write. For many of us, this is all we have. The belief that we together can realize dreams and change lives.