Breaking the Cycle

Rafael, right, works on his Bible study at the Teen Challenge rehabilitation center. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Rafael, right, works on his Bible study at the Teen Challenge rehabilitation center. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Crack is drug that can overtake a person.  It can a make a good, decent person capable of almost anything. Brianna and I spent another day at the rehabilitation center outside the city. All the men are very sweet to us and are good friends with one another.  It is hard to accept that many of them have done some horrible things while they were under the influence of crack. One man, Rafael, the sweetest and most shy guy, admitted to have robbing a family man and taking about 10 dollars. In the process, slitting the man’s throat. He doesn’t know if the man lived.

photo by Brianna Soukup

(photo by Brianna Soukup)

(photo by Anna Reed)

(photo by Anna Reed)

(photo by Brianna Soukup)

(photo by Brianna Soukup)

By spending time with the men recovering in the rehab center and with some of the people we met on the streets of Cracolandia, Brianna and I have realized how powerful the drug is.  Nice, good, honest people can be turned to do horrible things; lie, steal, fight and even kill, because of the effects of the addiction to crack. Seeing how the cycle continues and how it can be stopped if more people were able to enter effective rehab makes both of us want to show these peoples’ stories. We hope that by everyone spreading awareness can help to reduce and eventually end the crack problem in Brazil.

(photo by Brianna Soukup)

(photo by Brianna Soukup)

(photo by Anna Reed)

(photo by Anna Reed)

Rafael's children, Martina (4) and Guilherme (6). (photo by Anna Reed)

Rafael’s children, Martina (4) and Guilherme (6). (photo by Anna Reed)

-Anna

Advertisements

New Year’s Eve on Paulista

1_masin

(photo by matt masin)

Last night, the crew trekked up the street to Avenida Paulista for the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration any of us have attended. News stories said the crowd would number in the millions and there would be millions of security officers.

I can’t say if there were that many, I can’t say if there were more, but it was packed as far as the eye could see and everyone was having a great time.

Toward one end of Paulista, the street where the celebrations were held, there was a stage where massive Christmas decorations had been a few days before.

The speed of the infastructure work in Brazil continues to surprise me…from my rooftop vantage point where I shot once by myself and once with Matt for my motoboy story, I noticed that in a matter of days all of Brigadeiro, a main cross street of Paulista, had been repaved. In similar fashion, the whole street of Paulista was revamped for this one evening in what must have been record time. I do feel bad for the cleanup crews, though.

Festivities started at 8 p.m. and I’m not sure that they ever ended.

Here’s what our cameras saw last night; we wish you all a happy new year.

20121231_SaoPaulo_NewYears_515_1

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by anna reed)

(photo by anna reed)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by matt masin)

(photo by matt masin)

20121231_SaoPaulo_NewYears_528

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by brianna soukup)

(photo by brianna soukup)

20121231_SaoPaulo_NewYears_761

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

20121231_SaoPaulo_NewYears_480

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by brianna soukup)

(photo by brianna soukup)

Happy 2013. Stay well, stay happy, stay safe and appreciate everything and everyone that you have.

AD

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)

Christmas in Cracolandia

Gabriella struggles with all her gifts as adults in the area lean against a wall.

Gabriella struggles with all her gifts as adults in the area lean against a wall. (photo by Anna Reed)

Today Brianna and I went with the NGO Cristolandia to give Christmas presents to children living in and around Cracolandia.

Children wait in line for their Christmas gifts. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Children wait in line for their Christmas gifts. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Children stand under a bridge near train tracks in the Cracolandia area of São Paulo. (photo by Anna Reed)

Children stand under a bridge near train tracks in the Cracolandia area of São Paulo. (photo by Anna Reed)

Cracolandia is an area in the Luz region of São Paulo that is populated with people who are addicted to crack. Locals call the area Cracolandia. Men, women and children of all ages and races live in the area and spend every moment looking for their next fix. Crack is a drug that has a short-lasting high, so many people are often on edge waiting for their next hit.

The slum near Cracolandia. (photo by Anna Reed)

The slum near Cracolandia. (photo by Anna Reed)

Children are lead in prayer by Cristolandia volunteers before receiving their Christmas gifts. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Children are lead in prayer by Cristolandia volunteers before receiving their Christmas gifts. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

A child who lives in Cracolandia smiles for the camera. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

A child who lives in Cracolandia smiles for the camera. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

We have been going to the area all this past week, trying to gain trust and get familiar with the area and the people. We haven’t posted any photos before today because showing a camera can be dangerous. Many people get angry and become aggressive when seeing a camera.

Toys lefts behind to make way for new Christmas gifts in Cracolandia. (photo by Anna Reed)

Toys lefts behind to make way for new Christmas gifts in Cracolandia. (photo by Anna Reed)

Kids run to the Cristolandia volunteers to receive their Christmas gifts. (photo by Anna Reed)

Kids run to the Cristolandia volunteers to receive their Christmas gifts. (photo by Anna Reed)

The gift-giving outing today gave us a chance to make photos in a less threatening way. The children were all very cute, and many were interested in our cameras and our American English. It was definitely a wonderful way for both of us to spend Christmas Eve. Most of the adults in the slum near Cracolandia smoke crack, so giving something to the kids was really great. I think I speak for both of us when saying it has been our best and most meaningful Christmas ever.

A girl poses for the camera after receiving Christmas gifts. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

A girl poses for the camera after receiving Christmas gifts. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

A woman peers over a door to see what the Cristolandia volunteers are doing. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

A woman peers over a door to see what the Cristolandia volunteers are doing. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

A child drinks a bottle outside his family's home in a slum in the Cracolandia area of São Paulo. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

A child drinks a bottle outside his family’s home in a slum in the Cracolandia area of São Paulo. (photo by Brianna Soukup)

Thanks for looking and Happy Holidays!

-Anna

Getting here

Welcome to the blog.

Over the next three weeks, 10 photojournalism students will populate this page with content from stories we work on in São Paulo, Brazil. We are all fortunate enough to have this opportunity through the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and we are led by professor Bruce Thorson and assistant Brian Lehmann. Through an endowment in the college, photojournalism students have, in the past, traveled to Kosovo, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India and, now, Brazil. On this blog you’ll see work from Kat Buchanan, Andrew Dickinson, Kaylee Everly, Nickolai Hammar, Brian Lehmann, Matt Masin, Anna Reed, Bethany Schmidt, Brianna Soukup, Morgan Spiehs, Bruce Thorson and Cara Wilwerding.

We arrived in São Paulo this morning at 8:15 local time – four hours ahead of Nebraska time.

What follows are some gratuitous photos of ourselves and our surroundings taken on the journey from Lincoln to São Paulo. We hope you enjoy the blog and the stories we share on it.

photo by andrew dickinson

photo by andrew dickinson

121217_travel_002

photo by matt masin

photo by kat buchanan

photo by kat buchanan

photo by andrew dickinson

photo by andrew dickinson

photo by matt masin

photo by matt masin

photo by andrew dickinson

photo by andrew dickinson

photo by bruce thorson

photo by bruce thorson

photo by andrew dickinson

photo by andrew dickinson

photo by matt masin

photo by matt masin

photo by brian lehmann

photo by brian lehmann