Brazil's growing prosperity: Your stories
Brazilians have been e-mailing to BBC News online, sharing their experiences of their country's rising prosperity and economic growth. Here is a selection of your stories.
CRISTIANO LIMA, FROM CAMPINA GRANDE, LIVING IN DUBAI
I am a 31-year-old guy from the northeast of Brazil, in a small and poor city called Campina Grande.
In the past 10 years I can see how Brazil's economic growth has changed the life around me.
Seven years ago, when I was finishing college, I remember that most of my friends were unemployed and considering moving to the south, to cities like Sao Paulo or Rio, to pursue a job or better way of life.
Time passed and many of them found jobs. I saw change happening around the city. The best example is my friend Robson.
Six years ago he was unemployed, his wife was pregnant and he was living in a room in his parents' small house. Time passed; he got his job back; started to make money.
Two years ago he bought his own new house in a neighbourhood that in the past was a slum, but now is completely restructured to offer people a good quality of life. He even bought a car. And his wife is studying again thanks to a government incentive plan.
Three months ago, before leaving Brazil and coming to live in Dubai, I was having lunch with him and I said: "My friend I am really happy for the changes that happened in your life, you are a real live example of how this country is changing; how the opportunities are all around the country."
JOAO PAULO FRANCISCONI, MORRO DA FUMASA
I am just 22 years-old, but I can tell you the economy has changed a lot since I was a kid.
I remember my dad buying basic things in great boxes to escape inflation. Today that's something impossible to see in a supermarket.
Another thing I can tell you is about education. Making it to college was a distant dream for most people in the 80s, at least for our family. I can't say paying for college was easy, but you can do it if you have a job and a family to support you.
My brother graduated as a lawyer and I can pay for a preparatory school to try and pass the test for a federal college. It's easy to get a job, there are many vacancies, and even more if you have graduated from college.
Speaking of that, every day I see in the newspapers that companies lack skilled people for the jobs available. I think it is a reflection of how things were harder back then to make it to college.
MAURICIO MORAES, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
I came back to Brazil in 2007, after nearly two years living in London.
When I went to Britain, Brazil was still a promise. A big, poor country. However, on the way back I saw a different and sparkling Brazil.
There were shops opening on each corner; people were in the street buying things as I had never seen. That had an impact on me.
I can see life is better today. I get myself more money than I used to. The market is hot and it's not really hard to find a job.
Even the Sao Paulo skyline is getting more beautiful. Many buildings are reshaping and restoring themselves. Houses are being painted. But there's also a downside. Traffic is getting worse and worse. And everything is becoming expensive.
For a 28 year-old lad, born in a high inflation country, which saw a lot of currency changes and economic crises, this is all brand new. Brazilians, with some money in their pockets, are getting happier.
CELIA DE MORAES, BRASILIA, BRAZIL
I am a psychotherapist. In the past few years, personal growth and spirituality has been raised to one of the main interests of my fellow dwellers of Brazil's capital, Brasilia.
I've noticed an increase in the number of people who come to me for therapeutic processes to develop their natural and spiritual potential - not only to overcome traumas and undesired behaviours.
This for me is a proof of change - when leftover money is used for positive growth, and not only to keep up with basic expenses!
When I was taking clinics in my undergraduate course (1986-91), the main problems we used to deal with were drug issues and stress-related unbalanced behaviour (not to mention physiology-related ones).
Though these continue to demand attention, what I've been noticing in the course of time is the increasing number of people who have experienced transcendental situations and want to know more about it.
These people only started to flood my private clinic because of the stabilisation of the economy in Brazil. They no longer had to save everything they could for the future and less steady times. They started to feel safe to spend on their emotional, existential and spiritual growth.
ALBERTINA LOURENCI, CAXIAS DO SUL
I am a post-doctoral researcher in sustainable architecture and urban design.
I am proud of my academic background, all attained at the University of Sao Paulo. It is unique and I doubt I could get the same standard abroad.
In contrast, I was shocked when I read that Brazil lags behind in elementary education. Our place is 120th, according to a UN report. Worse than Brazil are only the worst countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
I am also scared by the crime and theft rate and the violence in Brazil in 2010. And I am very shocked that Brazil and China spend their reserves - $245bn and $500bn respectively - financing the US deficit.
Real progress would happen if they mimic Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Prize winner from Bangladesh, who lent money to poor people to organise their business.
DIEGO DE OLIVEIRA, EMBU, SAO PAULO
I come from a relatively impoverished suburb of Sao Paulo and I am now a geography teacher at an international school.
As a teenager in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I remember prospects were bleak as unemployment soared to record levels and the high crime rates were evident in the violent routine everyone endured.
"External debt", "crisis" and "corruption" were words very easily learned and often pronounced by youngsters leaving public schools.
I worked hard to get the last available seats at the University of Sao Paulo as a public school student. From then on, everything has become a lot more promising personally. Not because of governmental measures but as a result of my own effort.
Nevertheless, it is evident that programs such as PROUNI, which offers scholarships in private institutions, have payed dividends as many acquaintances in my hometown have access to higher education.
In the not very distant past, university access was restricted to the middle class and the middle class itself was restricted in Brazil. I remember my mother calling us "working class" (she was a school secretary, my father a musician).
Gladly, Embu, which used to be a sort of a "God forsaken land", attracting a handful of tourists for the art market and poor migrants who settled illegally, will now host a federal university of its own in 2011.
Obviously, Sao Paulo is no bed of roses. The metropolitan area still copes with its urban woes (crime, pollution, traffic and a strong sense of displacement). But in this very brief retrospect I sense that Brazilians have, in their own way, made a great leap.
Most importantly, there is a sense of prosperity and hope in the air. These are much more optimistic times!