Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meeting Xavier...

Brother Xavier Plassat
Brother Xavier Plassat almost didn't make it to Canada from his remote village in Northern Brazil. With animated gestures he mimics the explosion of glass from the blown out windows of his bus. It was hit by a large truck during his 7 hour ride to the airport and consequent three-flight trip to Canada.  He explains his voyage to me at the home of the Dominican Friars in Toronto where I meet him for the first time.  He is here for a two-week speaking tour.

He hasn't slept for two nights. And yet his front-line activism freeing slaves from charcoal and sugarcane operations has obviously given him a fortitude for God's work. His eyes are clear and blue, his manner playful and spirit light. Yet the burdens of the poor with whom he works in the remote regions of Brazil are clearly also his own.  God has moved him to give his life to this important work - to free the slaves, to release the captives.

Brother Xavier has arrived in  Canada. Over the next two weeks he will be sharing stories of his work as the coordinator of the Anti-slavery and human trafficking program of D&P partner, the Pastoral Land Commission
"This is our secret weapon" he says, giving me a little fold-out accordion card with a cartoon on it. His program produces tens of thousands of these cards and give them to poor workers everywhere to help them avoid falling into the trap of slavery.  There is a place to put their names - for many, it functions as their only source of ID. There is a place to write down basic information: "my work contract starts:______ ends:______ it pays:____" Often this information is not written down or agreed upon with the employer and worker and thus they end up trapped.  The back contains numbers of people they can call if they are forced into slavery or slave-like conditions.

His first presentation is this Saturday at 2pm in Bracebridge and I am really looking forward to it!

Finding out when he's coming to a place near you and come and meet him too! More info HERE