Hope is the Heaviest Weight: How Kindness Brought a Poet Home
He signs his work The Conditioned. His home for decades: a median in the center of one of the busiest streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that he named The Island.
Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho was homeless for 35 years and living on The Island when Shalla Monteiro took the time to speak to him one day in 2011.
Monteiro said she would find him sitting in the same spot every day writing, so she began to talk to him and listen to his poetry. She was so impressed that she decided to do something to help Sobrinho accomplish his dream.
The simple act of creating a Facebook page dedicated to Sobrinho’s poetry gave the artist an audience, and ultimately brought his story to the attention of the world. As part of, “Facebook Stories,” a social media initiative, Sobrinho’s story has been seen by millions, and his dream of becoming a published writer is coming true.
As his popularity online grew, so did his popularity in the streets of Sao Paulo. People began to come by and talk with– and listen to– the street poet.
One day, a message was sent to Monteiro through Facebook from a man claiming to be Sobrinho’s brother. The two brothers, who had not seen each other in fifty-seven years, reunited just this year and now Sobrinho has a new home with this brother and his family.
In the video, as the words scroll slowly across the screen, “Hope---- is the heaviest weight a man can carry,” Sobrinho’s brother explains how he found Sobrinho: “When I arrived at The Island, I found a man in the midst of garbage, hairy and unshaven, no hygiene whatsoever, knowing this person was my brother.”
To date, Sobrinho has over 60,000 followers on Facebook. His story has been covered by local and international press. He continues to write and soon will have a book of poetry published for the world to read and enjoy. Through a simple act of extraordinary kindness, Shalla Monteiro gave the world to Raimundo Sobrinho, and she gave Ramundo Sobrinho to the world.
What You Can Do
Like Ramundo Arruda Sobrinho's Facebook page to find out when his book will be published.