Laundry day

The Emboava family spent this afternoon sorting, washing, hanging and folding almost all the laundry in their home. And as many Brazilians know, doing this all by hand is quite the task.

I’ve been hand-washing my own laundry in our hostel and it’s an incredibly time consuming job. I never realized how much I take my washer and dryer for granted.

As I spend more time in their home, I continue to learn new things about the family. Two years ago, Andreía bought this building for 2.000 reals (1,000 U.S. dollars). The two other families living here pay her 300 reals per month — money which Andreía uses to better their living situation.

Eventually, Andreía dreams of saving enough money to find a new home, but said it could take a while. She said it will help when her oldest daughter, 14-year-old Agatha starts working too.

Andreía smokes a cigarette while taking a break from folding laundry.

Andreía smokes a cigarette while taking a break from folding laundry.

Three-year-old Marjorye squeegees the sidewalk in an attempt to help with household chores.

Three-year-old Marjorye squeegees the sidewalk in an attempt to help with the numerous chores.

After completing a full weekend of household chores, and in anticipation of a long week at work, Andreía said she’ll sleep well tonight.

Until next time,

Cara Wilwerding

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Our landless hosts

Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (MST) in Portuguese means the landless worker’s movement. It is a social movement in Brazil with more than 1.5 million members in 23 of the 25 states. Armando and Nisse have their own farm out past the northern border of São Paulo.

Before yesterday I had only been out to their MST farm twice, the last being on Christmas day. After dropping stories on free reconstructive surgery, free public burials and families making bricks by hand for a living, I returned to green countryside where the farming couple lives.

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Matt has made the trip by metro, train and then bus several times already. Armando and Nisse seem to know him well, wanting only to call him by the more Portuguese version of his name Matteos. I quietly hope they give me a new name as well.

Even through the language barrier I can feel the kindness and warm-hearted intentions behind everything Armando and Nisse say and do. I feel calm and focused without the constant sound of cars and fireworks in São Paulo. (Aside from entering the fowl pen and being chased around by a threatened gaggle of geese and turkeys)

Nisse watches the rain come down on her farm Saturday evening.

Matt and I were busy yesterday gathering footage and images for our cooperative story when we saw the incoming rain from the North. A heavy storm can put a stop to Nisse and Armando’s day. They cooked dinner early, took care a few remaining chores indoors and milled around their home for the duration of the storm.

I woke up this morning around 6 a.m. only to find some sort of avian excrement next to my head. I quietly slipped my mud-caked shoes on and woke Matt up, wandering outside in wait of getting video of Armando opening up the house. He smiled and laughed when he saw that I was already waiting for him with a camera before he had even eaten breakfast.

Matt and I, much to our dismay, followed Nisse out to the area holding the larger birds and got pictures and video of her throwing corn and stale bread. She has told us previously that the large male turkey is a little skittish and feeds him by hand so he doesn’t have to fight for a meal.

Thanks ya’ll,

-Nickolai Hammar

Staying overnight

Things have been going well on the farm. Nisse and Armando finished the fence they started on the 27th, now the turkeys stay behind the house for the most part. The small turkeys and chickens are able to make it through a hole in the kitchen wall and come in, but there’s not much you can do about that.

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Nick and I spent the night last night, and it was a good night to go. We watched as a rain storm slowly took over the nearest town, covering it in a wavy, gray blanket of rain until the storm reached the farm. Soon, all you could hear was thunder. The lights inside the home flickered on and off until the storm overpowered the electricity and the lights went out.

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The opportunity to document this story is giving me personal stories I will never forget. Last night when we all sat down to dinner on the farm. Nick was digging into his second plate, out of nowhere a chicken jumped up and sat down on his plate. Nick moved his plate around in the air, but the chicken wouldn’t budge. Eventually, Nisse and Armando grabbed the chicken and got him off. Nick dumped the rest of his food on the floor and the chickens cleaned it all up. It was absolutely hilarious and was a moment where all four of us could share in a deep laugh together.
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Time is winding down in Brazil. I’m going to be sad to leave Nisse and Armando and all their animals, but i’ll be making the most of the time we have left.

Feliz ano novo!

-Matt

Bertioga or Bust

Precursor: Please listen to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding while enjoying this blog post.

After three months of research and planning, 60 or so emails, a week in São Paulo and a two hour bus ride, I arrived in Bertioga, Brasil. It looked like a postcard.Image

The harbor is full of fishing vessels and other small watercraft. The downtown area right next door to the shipyard is a picturesque tourist spot complete with traditional Brazilian food vendors and rows and rows of souvenir shops. But, the serene river where the boats are docked is the real sight to behold.

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In the “low season” (Brasil’s winter months), Bertioga is considered a small town of around 50,000 citizens. But, during the height of summer in December, the population booms to over 200,000. I celebrated Christmas in Bertioga with my translator, Karla, and her family. There was no turkey on the table here; Christmas eating in Brasil is all about the Chester (a.k.a. turkey/chicken/butter all rolled into one and cooked to perfection in a ziplock bag).

I will celebrate the New Year in Bertioga as well. I’ve been told that Dec. 31 is the craziest night of the year and that I probably won’t be able to sleep from the fire works and loud celebrations. Nonetheless, I’m still looking forward to starting of 2013 with a splash! Dang it, I love puns.

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Superwoman

Yesterday, I went to work again with Andreía and her father, Arivaldo. I learned that while hundreds of people collect throughout Sáo Paulo, members of various cooperatives have an easier time gathering materials and make more money than most. Cooper Glicério was even able to afford a mechanical cart this year, giving employees a break from hauling such a heavy bundle.

Controlling Cooper Glicério's mechanical cart, Arivaldo passes a fellow collector. Sergio Bispo, founder of Cooper Glicério, said the cart is worth 4.000 reals (2,000 U.S. dollars).

Controlling Cooper Glicério’s mechanical cart, Arivaldo passes a fellow collector. Sergio Bispo, founder of Cooper Glicério, said the cart is worth 4.000 reals (2,000 U.S. dollars).

Arivaldo loads recyclables into an old Volkswagen van.

Arivaldo loads recyclables into an old Volkswagen van.

Andreía kisses her 10-year-old son, Ruan.

Andreía kisses her 10-year-old son, Ruan.

Arivaldo and Andreía joke around as they head home for lunch.

Arivaldo and Andreía joke around as they head home for lunch.

Only a short walk from the cooperative is Andreía’s home, where she lives with her father, husband and three children. But along with this large group, two other families also live in the small, run-down building.

Andreía's husband Edinaldo, fills a water bottle. Edinaldo used to work at the cooperative too, until he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident two years ago. He's currently searching for work online.

Andreía’s husband Edinaldo, fills a water bottle. Edinaldo used to work at the cooperative too, until he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident two years ago. He’s currently searching for work online.

Three-year-old Marjorye tries on her mother's shoes.

Three-year-old Marjorye tries on her mother’s shoes.

Arivaldo wires electricity from the street, exhibiting just one way that the family saves on living costs.

Arivaldo wires electricity from the street, exhibiting just one way that the family saves on living costs.

During her lunch break, Andreía plays with Marjorye.

During her lunch break, Andreía plays with Marjorye.

I stayed the night with the Emboava’s to see what their daily life is really like. Their sleeping arrangements were like nothing I’d ever seen before. Plywood boards lay across concrete wall structures (without nails or screws attaching them). They climbed ladders to get to these quarters, where small beds or cots were arranged.

If a house like this existed in the United States, it would be condemned.

I was surprised to see such a cramped living area, after I’ve seen how hard both Andreía and Arivaldo work. While I spent time with the family Friday night, they went out to collect yet again.

Edinaldo and brother,  Cleiton talk as Andreía and Arivaldo leave to collect more recyclables.

Edinaldo talks with Andreía’s brother, Ailton, as Andreía and Arivaldo leave to collect more recyclables.

Waiting for her mother and grandfather to return from collecting, Marjorye plays with other girls who live in her building.

Waiting for her mother and grandfather to return from collecting, Marjorye plays with other girls who live in her building.

Her work seems exhausting, but Andreía keeps going when she gets home. She made sure I got a shower and a hot meal, cleaned a cut on her father’s face and put the kids to bed, before thinking about herself. I’m convinced she’s superwoman.

Andreía smokes a cigarette while waking up Saturday morning.

Andreía smokes a cigarette while waking up Saturday morning.

After only one day, I’ve become attached to the Emboava family. I’m going to church with them tomorrow and hope to spend as much time with them as possible during my last week in Brazil.

Until next time,

Cara Wilwerding

Their way

Having two arms, ten fingers, two legs and ten toes is something that you don’t think about every day. For those of you who don’t know me personally, this is my third photojournalism trip. Last year I was fortunate enough to go to Kyrgyzstan and India. While those experiences were amazing and life changing in their own way, this one has by far made me the most thankful. It has brought me back to the basics and given me more perspective on the things we take for granted.

I met Daiane Flores and her 1-year-old daughter, Ana Clara, about a week ago at AACD (Assistance Association for Disabled Children,) the organization I have been working with. Since then they have opened up their lives to me. I was invited to spend Christmas with their family and ended up staying for three days. They are some of the most welcoming and loving people I have ever met, which originates from the culture here. Everyone hugs everyone and kisses on the cheek and they treat you like family. It’s just their way.

Daiane leaves her home to take Ana Clara to the doctor.

 

Raising Ana Clara is a full time job for Daiane. She relies primarily on the aid she gets from the government to support themselves. They live with Ana Clara’s grandmother, Cleide, who plays a huge part in taking care of her. Ana Clara’s father, Ricardo Pereira Lima, has been out of the picture for the majority of her life. Recently, he has decided to become more involved and accompanied Daiane and Ana Clara to physical therapy for the first time on Friday.

Anne Hupfeld works with Ana Clara on sitting up during physical therapy while her parents watch.

Daiane makes a swimming gesture while Ricardo moves Ana Clara up and down in the air.

Daiane injects cold medicine into Ana Clara’s mouth before aqua therapy.

Daiane kisses Ana Clara on the cheek before entering the pool for aqua therapy.

Ricardo and Ana Clara play during aqua therapy.

Ricardo leaves AACD while Daiane takes back the stroller.

Ricardo leaves AACD while Daiane takes back the stroller.

After a day of occupational, physical and aqua therapy, Daiane and Ana Clara leave AACD.

Tomorrow I am headed back to their house to spend New Year’s with them. Stay tuned.

Thanks for looking.

-Kaylee

 

Rehabilitation

Men pray and sing at the Teen Challenge rehab center outside São Paulo. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Men pray and sing at the Teen Challenge rehab center outside São Paulo. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

After spending most of our time in São Paulo unable to make photos because of safety concerns, yesterday was a sigh of relief. Brianna and I spent yesterday at the Teen Challenge rehabilitation center outside of São Paulo. The pastor and others made us feel very welcome and allowed us full freedom to make photos, videos and and do interviews with a worker and a man who is recovering.

Prayer time at the crack rehabilitation center. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Prayer time at the crack rehabilitation center. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Men say their prayers into their seats. (photo by Anna Reed)

Men say their prayers into their seats. (photo by Anna Reed)

A recovered crack addict and now a worker at Teen Challenge, Robson, walks down the path past the main building on the farm. (photo by Anna Reed)

A recovered crack addict and now a worker at Teen Challenge, Robson, walks down the path past the main building on the farm. (photo by Anna Reed)

We plan to go back this week, early in the morning, when the 50 men at the farm do their daily chores.

Since we started the story of crack addiction in São Paulo, everyone has told us it is a health issue, not a criminal issue. Covering the rehabilitation aspect of the story is very important, and we are excited to see more of what this farm does to help people live a clean life.

Rafael (standing) watches as others in the rehab center play a game of dominoes before prayer. (photo by Anna Reed)

Rafael (standing) watches as others in the rehab center play a game of dominoes before prayer. (photo by Anna Reed)

The main meeting area at the Teen Challenge rehabilitation center. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

The main meeting area at the Teen Challenge rehabilitation center. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Thanks for looking,

-Anna

Rafael raises his hand while singing. (photo by Anna Reed)

Rafael raises his hand while singing. (photo by Anna Reed)

Rafael's bible. (photo by Anna Reed)

Rafael’s bible. (photo by Anna Reed)

 

Men stand for prayer and song at the Teen Challenge drug rehabilitation farm outside São Paulo. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Men stand for prayer and song at the Teen Challenge drug rehabilitation farm outside São Paulo. (photo by Brianna Soukup)