1. I can take the ups and downs of life. If I can’t store up the courage to live, I’ve resolved to store up the patience.
In her entry from July 19, 1955, Carolina’s frustrations with meddling favela women and trying to earn enough money to feed her children find an outlet in this new resolution. In Carolina’s hand-to-mouth existence, her biggest challenges are the daily ones: finding food and protecting her children. Necessity dictates that she must learn how to cope with innumerable challenges, and patience proves more important than courage. Possessing a laudable virtue like courage may seem luxurious to someone in Carolina’s position. Patience is more practical, and it allows her to break down a problem and deal with it constructively. When so many crises threaten to overwhelm Carolina, patience helps her negotiate them with dignity and grace. Over the course of the diary, writing becomes part of Carolina’s strategy to “store up the patience.” It gives her life meaning and allows her to record the wrong actions of people who might be held accountable later. In this way, Carolina avoids being dragged into the senseless fights she sees all around her, and can escape the larger and subtler sense of despair that afflicts the entire favela.