Monday, 30 June 2014

Throwback | Brazil

In light of the World Cup (and following on from Saturday's post!), I have decided to do a post on Brazil, even though I went 4 years ago this summer! I know this might seem a little bit far off but Brazil was such an amazing country I just can’t not share it with you all! However, it was not all amazing, there were some really hard hitting things that we saw whilst we were there which I think makes the world cup even more poignant this year. That such a money making event is happening in a country with such an extreme rich-poor divide to it.

Sugar Loaf Mountain

 I stayed in a favela for two and a half weeks with my youth group and we were working with the families in the slums which was really eye-opening and quite upsetting at times, one of the main circumstances that upset all of us was the street children. There was one boy, who was only 7 years old, but he was extremely high from paint thinner which is what they use on the streets. There were other situations however which were upsetting but also gave me so much hope. We bumped into a young boy in the favela who was handing out his business cards as he was a singer. He wasn't famous or anything, he just enjoyed it and it was so nice to see that he was doing something he loved and being proud of it even though the places around him were so dirty and sad. 




 One thing that hit me incredibly hard was the fact that a young boy had been shot the night we arrived, and on our first day there we went to the place that he had been shot. I was so upset about this, in England if someone is shot they would have cordoned the area off for days, but in Brazil we were walking there twelve hours after this young boy had died. It was drugs related. Drugs is obviously a massive thing in the Brazilian favelas, and at the time I don't think it really connected with me that I was brushing shoulders with some of the main drug lords in one of the biggest favelas in Belo Horizonte. It is actually terrifying that I was there for 2 and a half weeks with such dangerous and powerful people, but when you think about the people who live there all of their lives, that makes me incredibly sad. 



This picture was taken where we stayed when we were in the Favela. I personally think this is a massive indication of the poor and rich divide, that such a gorgeous building was in the middle of such a poor area, which does make me feel a little guilty looking back. However, the local community did benefit from the work done by the people who live there, and they are also able to swim in the pool there and make use of the play area and the classroom there during the groups that are held there every morning and afternoon. That was one of the highlights for me, meeting some of the children from the favelas. They were so lively and happy even though they truly lived in some of the worst conditions I have ever seen. It really makes you think.





Not everything we saw there was sad though. We met some amazing people, including my friend Fiamma (hey Fiamma!) who reads my blog, and I am still in contact with 4 years after my visit to Brazil. We also visited some amazing places in the country which I have spoken about in my Travel Tick-list Post. We met some incredible volunteers who had dedicated their lives to making the poorest people in the city have better lives. It was amazing to see. I can now say I have seen some of the most incredible sights in the world, such as the Christ Redeemer, the town of Ouro Preto and the Sugar Loaf mountain. As well as having relaxed on some absolutely stunning Brazilian beaches. I have sampled Brazilian food, with rice and beans and Guarana. I have survived the crazy Brazilian driving. I have played football with the happiest girls in the Favela who were willing to loosen their game a little just so I could score (I'm forever grateful!).



Brazil was such an amazing country, and I apologise if this post has been a little depressing. The World Cup has really got me thinking about all those people I met in Brazil who had so little, especially compared to the likes of Wayne Rooney who earns more money in a week than most people will see in a lifetime. Its hard to remember all the poverty in the country when you are watching the matches but it has certainly reminded me to remember those I met!

 Have you ever been to Brazil? 







2 comments:

  1. I would love to visit Brazil but can sometimes be put off by the level of crime in the country. Did you ever feel really unsafe?

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    1. don't be put off :) honestly, there was only one time when I didn't. I was in a group of 3 and a drunk lady in the favela was shouting at us, but I was fine and I was with two others so I still felt safe even though I didnt if that makes sense. I was 16 when I went so maybe I was a little naive to it - but I felt safe regardless. Even when there were break ins where I stayed - I think if you go in a group and stick together you are fine! Also, I was staying in the Favelas which is the area where the trouble usually is and I was totally fine - nothing bad happened to me the whole time - it was such an incredible country and I can't wait to go back! xx

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