A change in energy

Hello from the USA! We all arrived safely in Omaha yesterday after two flights. While i’m glad to be back home with family and friends, I wish my time with Nisse and Armando didn’t have to be so short.

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I spent a little more than two days out at the farm, sleeping in the garage and photographing everything else my story needed. Nicky came and joined me on Friday afternoon, and we started to cover all the holes in the story.

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On Friday night, a little before bedtime Armando told Nicky and I that his heart was going to be very sad when we leave. He also told us the energy around his home changed for the better when we were there, and he was going to miss us. Things like this make me feel so good. I posted early on after my first day at the farm hoping I would leave Nisse and Armando as many memories as I would have. It felt weird not going out to the farm Sunday morning.

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Nicky and I set it up so one of our translators can show them our multimedia project when we finish it, so they can see what they took part in and hopefully create some change for the Landless Movement.

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Have a great day,

Matt

A party on the farm

Nicky and I headed out to the farm today, and little did we know, within 30 minutes of showing up Armando and Nisse’s whole family would be joining us for a birthday party for one of their grandchildren. It was amazing how much hard work Armando did for this small, modest party. First, more electrical wires needed to be spliced together. Armando crunched through a wooded area and found the right wires underneath dead leaves and twigs.
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Next, a pool was erected for the birthday boy, turning five, which meant Armando needed to reroute some of the water lines buried underneath the farm. With his heart condition and the hot Brazilian sun beating down, both Nicky and I were worried about how much work Armando was going through.

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All went well though, except the pool collapsed once and all the water spilled out. Everyone feasted on turkeys and chicken, to which I asked Nicky if i had known those animals in the previous two weeks. We decided we’ve probably photographed our dinner a few times by now. After everyone finished, Armando finished up his strenuous chores and sat down with a knife and a fork to eat.

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The whole family was receptive to Nicky and I, which made us wonder how weird the situation must have been overral. Having the kids and grandkids go home and explain the party to their friends. “Oh, it was awesome! There were these two guys with cameras that didn’t speak a word of Portuguese. I’m not really sure why they were there.” I was glad we went though, it’s the kind of event that is important to the story, even if the frames never make it into the final cut. I understand the family dynamic that surrounds these two landless farmers more and am beyond thankful they let me past their gates into the farm. Even if I can’t speak their language.

Thanks for looking,

-Matt

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

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)

From above

Last night I had the opportunity to take photographs from atop one of the many skyscrapers on Paulista Avenue, thanks to Andrew Dickinson, who needed roof access for his motoboy story.

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Being high above the streets was the first chance I had to truly grasp how huge this city is. It doesn’t matter which direction you look toward, there are too many skyscrapers to count.

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There was a light rain while Andrew and I were up on the building, so I figured finding some sort of rain feature photo was necessary. I messed around with probably a dozen different shots before taking this frame. It’s rare to go a day in Sao Paulo without rain, and when it didn’t rain for nearly two days this week, we all started to miss the rain.

Thanks for looking,

Matt

Feels like home

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As a kid, I would spend some time out of my summer vacation on my uncle’s farm in Ord, Neb. I always loved going out to the seemingly-endless fields of green corn crops and distant sounds of cows mooing. Farms are peaceful, beautiful and always interesting. The landless workers farm i’ve been documenting is no exception.

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Just getting out to this farm is an adventure in itself. From the hostel I take four different subway lines, one bus and walk about two miles along the interstate until everything gets quiet and i’m surrounded by what i love the most: lush green foliage and the smell of fresh fruit and vegetables (even though i don’t eat most of them).

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This farm always has something going on, digging holes for a new fence with a post-hole-digger, similar to the same one my dad and uncle tried to teach me how to use, although I could never dig holes nearly as fast as either of them. Chickens and ducks take up vacancy inside the squatted farm house just the same as the people who live there.

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Recently, the transformer inside the plywood and tin home quit working, causing the electricity to go out. A new one cost about 100 reals or $50, which is not in the budget, forcing the family to find a way to wire electricity from a telephone pole or any way they can make it work.

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Even though i’m on another continent, things always remind me of those summers in Ord. Farmers have always been nice and caring people in my book, and the same is true in Brazil. The work is always hard and under the scorching sun. I’m glad to have found people that spark these memories for me, and I hope my presence in their home leaves them with some good memories as well.

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Thanks for looking,

Matt