Update on Renato

Renato (July '09) Renato (July '09)

The most common question in Q&A's after screenings is "How is Renato doing now?"

Three years later he continues to struggles to stay straight, to provide for his family, and to beat the odds that are stacked against him. After the trip that was featured in the film he did pretty well for a while. He was invited back to Sweden two other times, once as a leader for a youth exchange and once as a speaker to discuss various issues of socio-economic development with other youth. Unfortunately, after returning from the second trip, he fell back in to the cycle of drug addiction- but not crime. However, he ended up on the wrong side of a drug deal and, afraid of being shot and killed by the guys on the other side, he spent several months on the run. Eventually, he ended up in a drug rehab program where he spent 9 months getting clean and finding God in the process. When I saw him in July '09 he was just as vibrant and smart as ever, but this time professing to be a devout Christian and working to spread the word to others. His determination to defy the odds is high, and, the odds are also stacked high against him. My sense is that without the promise of any kind of secure employment and without the necessary education, that there are very few exit strategies from poverty for him and he will continue to walk the fine line of existence on the periphery of society.