"I kept trying to make the change happen in myself..."
I was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil a place well known for its beautiful beaches, Carnival, samba dancing and of course soccer. “Being from Brazil it surprises most people that I’m not much of a soccer player, but I still cheer for my home team ‘Flamengo’ when I watch the games live on the internet. And this year I had my green, blue and yellow flag out for the World Cup until the Netherlands dashed our dreams.”
“Soccer may have not been my thing, but dancing certainly was! It was always a big part of my life and an activity of joy and passion. As a kid one of the moments I will always remember is going to camp with my best friend and entering a dance contest and winning with my Michael Jackson impersonation. M.J. was my hero at the time and that was a great memory.”
“I had a great childhood, but it wasn’t trouble-free. I grew up as an only child in a single parent home with my mother who worked as a housekeeper trying to keep food on our table. I saw my father briefly every 15 days or so, and although I always tried to do my best in life I always wished I could have spent more time with him in order to have his input for my life’s direction.”
In Brazil they require 3 years of service in the military after which you can continue your education or go to work. “I served my mandatory years in the military and did well at keeping a good front of strength, but deep down I knew something was missing. I had no hope or plans for the future. I knew my life needed a change, but wasn’t sure how to make that happen.”
I kept trying to make the change happen in myself by not letting my friends or the media influence me, but this change in my own strength was always short lived and I felt stuck in a cycle I couldn’t get out of. Then one day someone invited me to church and I heard about Jesus transforming tasteless, stagnant water into wine for a party and I knew deep down I could trust him to transform my own life, so I surrendered myself to him completely and that is when the change began to happen. I knew I had been forgiven for past mistakes, was beginning to feel healing of past hurts and was given new meaning for my life and future. It was a brilliant time!
“At that time the creative ‘Brazilian’ within me began to expand. I became part of an R&B group that became quite well known for its singing. I also joined a dance and drama group that performed all over the city. It was in one of these skits that I was asked to play the comedic part of a man from the country, kind of a ‘Brazilian bogger.’” People loved it and were constantly coming up to me telling me how great my part was.
“Shortly after doing the dramas I was asked by a friend to go into one of the shanty towns (favelas) to do clown work with kids. I said sure, but wasn’t sure who my clown would be and how he would act, then it came to me to combine my drama act with the clown and I named him Jeca and in that moment Clown Jeca Brazil was born.”
“I think a clown should be family friendly at all times. There is no real need for innuendo and double meanings when you are working with kids. I see a lot of that going on and it frustrates me a little because I don’t think you need to be crude to make people smile.”
“Clown Jeca has been a gift from God to me and others. I have loved the opportunities in Brazil to bring Jeca onto a children’s television program, into schools and even to walk freely in the toughest slums of Rio, which even the police are scared to enter. It is amazing how a clown can soften the hardest of hearts as he lights up the eyes of children.”
In the years since my wife and I moved to Ireland I have seen Jeca reborn. It started with a few small acts for friends, then some birthday parties and now getting opportunities to do charity work. I see that Jeca is ‘growing up’ and I have great dreams of more things in Ireland. I dream of more charity work, educational projects in schools and camps, and maybe even open doors into kids television shows.
The future is bright!