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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)


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Emerging culture by categories -> History: Marches, defining moments, congresses 48 resources (Cultural categories devised by & © Else R P Vieira)

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Children's compositions


Gleison de Castro M. De Acebisbo
(11 years, Água Doce Farm School, Vale da Esperança Settlement, Formosa, state of Goiás.) Reproduced with the permission of the MST São Paulo


15 years of the MST
(Rural routine. Family work in the fields. Thanks to the MST, there is abundance. Children also go to school.)

Every day I go out with my brothers, behind my father, hoe on shoulder, on the way to the fields, before the sun comes up very early in the morning. I have done this since I was little. My father cuts the weeds with a machete, one brother breaks the ground with a hoe, the other a little way behind buries the seed. And I scare the hungry birds that want to eat the seeds. I do this all morning until the sun is very hot.

With time comes the rain and like a miracle the crops grow. My father also reaps corn, makes flour, eats green-corn paste, sucks on sugar-cane, makes raw brown sugar…

What joy! It is a time of plenty! I now go to the school to learn to read and write.

I am going to be somebody in life, my father says, takes up his sandal and goes.

But my father told me a secret that I’ll only tell you; Gleison will grow up, learn to read and write, understand farming more and more. He said he is not leaving that land. He will go on sowing and reaping, just like his father, and the father of the father of the father of his father. And I will join in taking care of the crops.

We give thanks to the MST, for hand-in-hand we fight for Agrarian Reform. So that everyone may have their piece of land.

Congratulations MST!

Children's compositions : Organized by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Thomas Burns.


November 2002

Resource ID:


Life Projects: The Brazil we want.
The children’s texts included here come from a collection of prize-winning essays of the National Contest for Essays and Drawings organized by the MST Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra [Movement of the Landless Rural Workers], in 1998, when the Movement was fifteen years old. The contest included elementary schools of the encampments and settlements all over Brazil.

The winning essays were published in an anthology titled Desenhando o Brasil [Drawing Brazil], organized by Alípio Freire, Silvana Panzoldo and Emílio Alonso (São Paulo: Editora Lidador, 1999). The data on the authors were obtained from the same anthology. All the essays originally had the general title "The Brazil We Want." The specific sub-titles added were derived from the texts of each author. The texts are here republished with the authorization of the MST of São Paulo.

Else R. P. Vieira. Translated by Thomas L. Burns

See also: The compositions and poems of the little landless: history under revision

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