Parallel Worlds

[two pro travel journalists turn amateur bloggers]

The children of Rio’s favelas

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[words and photographs by Mark Eveleigh]

Young men are sitting at a table by the dusty roadside. A bag is on the table but the flap is open and it is easy for the inquisitive eye to pick out the packages of white powder inside. I know that an inquisitive eye is not welcome here however so I quickly look the other way – but not before I notice a pistol lying in full view by the bag.

I have come here to cover the work of a French-Moroccan artist who is giving children an opportunity to escape from the tensions of life here by painting the breezeblock walls of one of Rio de Janeiro’s biggest favelas. I am well aware that without her my passage into Villa Pinheiro would not extend much further.

Under other circumstances this would be a war-zone but peace is normally preserved by the fact that the police simply refuse to set foot here. Apart from sporadic fire-fights, the drug gangs prefer to maintain an uneasy truce that allows them to get on with “business”. With the police and army moving in on the favelas with what they are calling “pacifying actions”, tensions here are higher than ever.

As I spend the afternoon photographing the kids and helping them paint, I realise that the lurid splashes on the bullet-pocked walls represent rare moments of colour in their young lives.

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6 comments on “The children of Rio’s favelas

  1. Boaz Rottem
    November 27, 2011

    Beautiful! Great set!!

  2. Pingback: 10 incredible South American experiences | mano@mano

  3. Pingback: Jumping Rio Carnival with Carmelitas bloco | mano@mano

  4. agogo22
    February 26, 2012

    Reblogged this on msamba.

  5. Pingback: Moving mountains in Rio | mano@mano

  6. Pingback: 10 travel scams around the world – and how to avoid them | Parallel Worlds

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2011 by in Posts by Mark Eveleigh, South America and tagged , , , .

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