"I am mad at the rain!"

by Judith Kühl, 2011/02/28

Angrily, Jamal* stamps her foot. "I’m mad at the rain, because it's all the rain's fault," the 11 year-old girl complains. "Who makes so much rain?" Since the devastating landslides in the surroundings of Nova Friburgo she has been seeing Luciléia da Silva regularly. The psychologist at the children's village of humedica Brazil is currently treating above all those who are suffering from their traumatic experiences.

Fear of the rain is immense and even the sound of flowing water brings back terrible memories. Photo: humedica/Florian Klinner

Many still remember every detail of the night of January 12, 2011, which brought so much sorrow and destruction. The children in particular are suffering from these memories. Like Jamal. Every week she asks: "Who made the landslides? Why did grandpa have to die in the masses of earth?" She cries, she screams, because she is angry. Da Silva explains to her what a natural disaster is and that it is no one's fault.

Most children react differently than Jamal. They are intimidated and they start crying when it is raining or when they are to take a shower. "The sound of falling water triggers fear in children and adults alike", explains da Silva.

8 year-old Raul* is walking up and down in front of the door to da Silva's treatment room. He does not speak. By drawing and playing with the boy, da Silva tries to talk to him about his fears. As most of the children, he draws houses and rain on a white sheet of paper.

"After that, I tell the children to think about something that makes them feel good. Some children are happy when they sing. Others pray. And others think of some happy experience."

When it starts raining heavily the next time, or when the children are frightened, their fear is to be replaced by a positive feeling. Hence, the children will regain trust and learn that not every rainfall causes destruction and death. Da Silva also gives the children some practical advice.

"They need to learn what they should do when it is raining heavily. For example, they should not be alone: if you are playing outside, go home! If your mother is not at home, go and see your neighbour."

This picture of a kitchen that has been devastated by the landslides is evidence of the forces set free during the disaster. Photo: humedica/Florian Klinner

Also the children's parents have been coming to see da Silva for some weeks. "Many mothers are suffering from depressions. Families that have lost everything do not see any perspectives". Like Isabela*. Her 3 year-old daughter was carried away by the mud and she has been missing for seven weeks. In the meantime, "missing" sadly means "dead". Not for Isabela. Even now she believes that she will find her child still alive.

Da Silva admits that her patients' traumatic experiences do not leave her unmoved. Since the wet season is not yet over, the people are confronted with their fears almost every day. humedica promotes this important aid for the victims by means of employing another psychologist of our partner.

Thank you very much for making this possible with your donations. The people in Brazil continue do depend on our joint relief efforts. Please help us to help. Thank you very much.

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Landslide Brazil"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can make a less complicated, but just as secure donation for the relief efforts in Brazil via our online form, or you can support the work of humedica and humedica Brazil by sending a text message: send the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and make a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros being directly channelled into the humedica project work.

* The names of those affected have been changed

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