Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho lived in anonymity for 35 long years, just one more faceless member of the thousands of people that make up Brazil's homeless population. Every day, he gathered whatever paper he could and honed his skills as a poet and philosopher.
In his wildest dreams he dreamt that maybe his words would be remembered one day, maybe they might be published but he knew deep down that they would probably never be read by anyone at all. Then one day, in the spring of 2011, something happened that changed his life forever.
This is Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho, a 77-year-old poet and philosopher who had been living on the streets for over 35 years. Through it all, he never stopped writing.
He sat in the same spot every day, his "island" as he called it, and every day people walked by without giving him a second thought. To the world, he was just one more dirty old homeless man occupying the streets.
But Raimundo kept on writing his beautiful life's work, dreaming all the while that one day his poems might be published for the whole world to see.
In 2011, a young woman named Shalla Monteiro took notice of him and befriended the old man. She would stop by every day to chit chat with him, and one day Raimundo gave her one of his poems.
Shalla was amazed by his work, to the point that she decided to make him a Facebook page so his poems and stories could be shared with others.
As soon as people started being exposed to his work online, the support came flooding in. Raimundo became something of a local celebrity, with people buying him gifts and/or stopping by to tell him how much they admired his writing. His page has over 120,000 followers to date.
The most incredible thing to come from his newfound fame, however, was an unexpected blessing: a reunion with his long-lost brother. After connecting over Facebook, his brother asked him to come live with him.
After 35 long years, Raimundo finally had a home and a family again. He cleaned himself up, and he and Shalla remain close friends to this day.
And best of all, Raimundo is now working on having a book of his poems published.
I'll be in line for the first editions!
If you'd like to know more, here is a short documentary of Raimundo's incredible journey: