BRA – COL

BRASIL – COLOMBIA with Thiago

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When making a seleção of Brazilians, there is a part of Brasil that, in my eyes, you cannot skip. The Military Police has been very busy in the past couple of years to pacify the favelas in Rio and get the drug gangs out of there. There are still many favelas that are managed by the drug gangs though. When starting this project it was my wish to show this side too. Difficult, because you can’t enter there with a camera and start taking pictures. In my blog I have described already that I have been busy getting in to one of the un-pacified favelas to take pictures of one of the gang members. Today I went to a favela in the Jardim America area. The wish of the members was exactly the same as mine, to show how they live and what they do for their community.

I spent the afternoon with Thiago (obviously not his real name). Thiago is 16 years old and entered the gang when he was 10. We walked around the neighbourhood and he showed me what it is like. I had seen a favela like this before, but still life in there surprises me. No roads, electricity taped off from other formal houses, no sewage, houses build of wood and families of 12 living in a 14m2 houses like this. The government does not do anything in these areas and the water system is realised by the drug gang. They take in the place of the government. Thiago has a wish to get out of the gang, but simply doesn’t have a better option in his life. On the day of the match they set up a big tent with TV, an enormous sound system, a water-bin filled with beer, a barbecue and air-pillows for children to play on, all paid with “drug money”. On the square there must have been about a thousand people watching the match. People are friendly, I felt welcome. Among them quite a lot that work for the drug gangs and they were walking around armed. This made it nearly impossible to take photo’s during the match. Because of this, the series of photos of the Brasil – Colombia match is slightly different from the others, but one that cannot be left behind. For me it meant that I could actually see the match this time and luckily Brasil has won, which implies I will be able to finish my series of seven portraits of people and end up with the complete Other Seleção. In Jardim America every goal and the end of the match were celebrated with fireworks.

Obrigada Thiago por hoje,  por confiar em mim e abrir o seu mundo.

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