Splash! Life as a mermaid

Children with disabilities being treated by getting an emotional lift from a mythical creature
WORLD
1739 views
 

Characters team Aug 22. 2017
by Characters team

Children with disabilities being treated at Brazil's hospitals, where economic hardship has crimped services, are getting an emotional lift from a mythical creature of the sea: a mermaid.

But in this instance, the siren is quite real.


Sereia Carol (Mermaid Carol) has earned her living portraying a mermaid and teaching mermaiding since 2012, when she left her job of 10 years as a veterinarian. She is paid for performing at events such as children's parties but donates her time at hospitals.
 
Positioned in a wheelchair so that wheelchair-bound children can relate to her, Sereia Carol says volunteering at hospitals is among her most rewarding experiences.
Dressed in costume with a long, shiny green tail, she chats with young patients and "they feel included, cherished." "It is a very beautiful and gratifying thing."

Sereia Carol says demand for her services, which declined in the midst of Brazil's worst recession in more than 100 years, recovered because of a soap opera called "A Forca do Querer," in which a woman deceives her family so she can work as a mermaid at an aquarium.
 
Like the fictional character, Sereia Carol is hired by aquariums in summertime, but much of her work entails classes and parties. She does her mermaid routine in a pool whenever one is available at an event. Otherwise, the "mermaid" assumes her throne in an armchair.

Sereia Carol says she has been fond of mermaids since childhood, when she practiced swimming with her legs joined. Inspiration came from the 1984 movie "Splash," starring Daryl Hannah as a mermaid with flowing blond hair and a long red tail. "It was not the long hair ... it was really that huge tail that she had," says Sereia Carol. "I thought it was incredible."
 
She practices every day and can spend up to four minutes underwater between breaths when she is in peak condition.


Photography by Pilar Olivares
Story by Alexandra Alper / Reuters
Like:
8
Comment(s)
MORE WORLD
Syrian athletes & Olympic  dreams
Syrian athletes & Olympic dreams
Aug 11. 2016
2178
When the war stands in the way
The language of friendship
The language of friendship
Feb 07. 2017
2391
Cultural diversity on friendship
The notebook boy who commits his memories in writing
The notebook boy who commits his memories in writing
Nov 19. 2018
539
The story of Chen who seriously damaged a part of the brain, in a traffic accident
Going to school in Syria
Going to school in Syria
Jul 11. 2016
1997
"I study in a cave. We sit on the ground and often we don't see clearly because it is dark."
BACK TO CATEGORY
comments powered by Disqus