Thursday, January 10, 2013

Paintings on the wall in a Brazilian favella

I visited Rio de Janeiro in November 2013 and had a day where I had the pleasure of being guided around in several poor living areas. Such areas are called Favellas and there over 900 of them in Rio de Janeiro. I visited Cantagalo and Pavão-Pavãozinho. These two places were considered "war sones" for just a year ago. Drug gangs were at war with each other here and the situation was considered unstable. People were not adviced to visit these places without a guide who was well known. Now these favellas are much more safe. Drug gangs are driven out and the police have "pacified" the favellas.

Kaare together with Fabio Luiz Ferreira da Silva
One of the persons who showed me around was the public health worker Fabio Luiz Ferreira da Silva. He is born and raised in this area and now works here at a health clinic, helping the inhabitants making it through the day. Fabio told of friends and family members who were killed during the war between drug gangs and with the police. His story became very real when we stopped and Fabio said that right here were we stand now, so and so was shot dead. Living in this area must have been very unsafe before. I had the impression that Fabio knew every corner in the favella. We had to stop often so he could handshake with all the people he knew. I felt very safe walking around here with Fabio. All those I meet were friendly, had a smile to give and a warm handshake.They seemed proud and treated both myself and others with dignity. I wish to meet the people of Cantagalo and Pavão-Pavãozinho again soon. Thank you to Fabio for showing me around and thank you to Jean Carlos Håndlykke Luz and Åsne Håndlykke Luz for both introducing me to the health clinic here and to those who work here. They also helped in guiding us around in the favellas were they were well-known.

Cantagalo and Pavão-Pavãozinho in Rio de Janeiro
I took many pictures during my journey through the area. Something that was dangerous to do for just a year ago. Now, Fabio encouraged me to take pictures. I saw many pantings on the brick walls here. Painting made by those living in the favellas and they all have a story to tell. Here are some of the pictures I took of "Paintings on the wall in a Brazilian favella".

Kaare T. Pettersen

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