The story of Lucas, the mula

30 April 2017

Mula, donkey… that is what drug traffickers in Brazil call their errand boys. Usually they are still children, just out of primary school, roaming the streets looking for some money and distraction, so yes, do they have a choice?

Lucas was such a mula. Around the age of 12 he was recruited by the traficantes, the adult drug traffickers, in Vila Uniao in a neighborhood ruled by criminals. Lucas was lucky to be able to join ASAS, the Brazilian partner of Power2Fly, not too long after. There he learned that he could also make other choices in life. Choices against the violent environment in which he had become entangles at such a young age.

But Lucas was unlucky. ASAS went to a different neighborhood; it became too dangerous even for the aid workers in Vila Uniao. Step by step, the mula fell back into its old, dangerous life. At the age of 15, he was dealing drugs and started using it himself. Friends of him were killed, Lucas set his sights on infinity. How can you escape fate when you’re stuck on a dead end?

At the age of 16, Lucas becomes involved in a robbery. The police came and immediately started to shoot. Lucas tried to protect a friend and jumped in front of him. Fortunately, the bullets didn’t go anywhere, the policeman had slipped. But Lucas’ friend was caught and he himself was hit hard. He was unable to get out of bed for two weeks, to which fears started to haunt him afterwards. In the evening, after eight o’clock, he no longer dared to leave his house. The policeman had said he would kill him if he was ever caught with drugs again.

Lucas afterwards lost another three friends and two cousins due to drug violence. He was looking for a way out and thought of ASAS. He now currently works as a volunteer at ASAS every afternoon. Every day he gets money to eat lunch and starting in August he will go to night school. ASAS has enrolled him. Lucas is alive again, learning again, helping others by talking about his mistakes. His future is completely open again, but one thing he knows for sure: he will never be a mula again.

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