Everything ends in pizza


If there is such a thing as reincarnation, Shirley wants to come back in her next life as a rich man. Nobody cares about a poor women, she says. When talking about how the building that is home to 36 families is going to be taken away from them this March, Shirley laughs and says a popular Portuguese phrase, “everything ends in pizza.” The expression is usually used when talking about corruption in politics.

I spent my yesterday with this beautiful mother of three. Not long ago, Shirley needed a place to stay. Her longtime friend told her she could have his room in one of the illegally occupied buildings.




When I first met Shirley she was doing laundry. As she hung articles of clothing on the line, she says that she doesn’t get to relax on Christmas Eve like the rich. She has work to do.

Shirley has a lot to say. As I sat in her cramped room, trying not to get in her way, her talking rarely stopped. I didn’t have a translator at this time. She spoke slow, trying to let me understand. She constantly gestured to the ring on her finger, indicating she was talking about her husband who was at work.  That is by far the hardest part of international journalism for me. I wanted nothing more than to be able to understand what Shirley wanted to tell me.

I leave in a couple of hours to attend a Christmas dinner in the building.

On this Christmas away from my family, I am so glad I get to see another one together.

Take care,



About Morgan Spiehs
Morgan Spiehs is a junior from Wood River, Neb. Spiehs has traveled to India, Brazil and Ethiopia on photojournalism projects through the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. She placed in the top five at the Hearst multimedia competition for the short documentary she made on a slum school in India. Last summer, she interned as the only full-time photographer for five weekly newspapers in northeast Nebraska. Spiehs will be interning at the Lincoln Journal Star this summer and will be photo chief at the Daily Nebraskan in the fall.

2 Responses to Everything ends in pizza

  1. Nice pictures and the sentiments that you expressed enhanced it all. I am so proud of you all…all of you can make a difference. Either by touching someone’s heart, or showing us what most of us will never see firsthand like you all are…..the world can indeed be a better place. I love reading/seeing all that the group is experiencing. Please pass this along to everyone….and Merry, Merry Christmas to all of you and those you hold dear.

  2. Ann P. Wilwerding says:

    Makes me realize even more what we have here. Merry Christmas, keep up the excellent work.

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