BRA-MEX

BRASIL – MEXICO with Wesley

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Without knowing that I had two cancelations for the Brasil match against Mexico, my friend Wesley sent me an invitation the night before the match, to watch the match at Comite Cultural Popular Revolicionario. CCPR is the cultural center where he works in Acari, one of Rio’s favelas that is still in the hands of the drug gangs. “Luckily”, says Wesley, they are more polite and take better care of the community than the police does in the neighborhoods that are pacified. “To us they are the government of our neighborhood.” The cultural center organizes several things for the neighborhood. Open mic nights, reggae nights and for children they have cinema, dance classes and silkscreen printing. Wesley lives in Acari too, in a small apartment, with only one window, but for now it is all he needs he says. Next to his work in the center, Wesley is active in the manifestations against the World Cup. He loves football and is aware of the power and impact it can have in people’s lives, but at all costs. With a group of friends he is working on setting up a movement; “COPA FAVELEIRA”. Their message is that the parties in the stadiums are not worth the tears in the favelas. These kind of movements are coming up in several favelas and they are joining each other’s meetings and manifestations too.

For the Brasil-Mexico match they had invited a lot of people to come over and see the match in the cultural center. Planned around the match were some activities and discussions about the World Cup.  For this occasion they were making special t-shirts, to be used during the rest of the World Cup too. Yellow and green, with the logo of the movement and on the back the Brazilian flag. On this flag the “Ordem e Progresso” is replaced by “Opressão e Repressão” (Order and progress for oppression and repression). Unfortunately, as it goes in Brasil, when the moment of the start of the match was almost there the TV did not work. After trying for a while the invited people already found different places to go and see the match, so we decided to do the same. We ended on a small football field that during other World Cups was always packed and much more decorated according to Wesley. This last thing counts for the whole neighborhood. People are not as busy with and as excited about this World Cup as they were during others. The COPA FAVELEIRA group spent some time watching, or at least sitting in front of the big screen that was placed on the field, but most of their attention went to discussing about the World Cup and the upcoming manifestations. The only ones really paying attention to the match were children. After the 0-0 end result it stayed quiet (for a favela) in Acari. We went back to CCPR where there was music and painting for children, with dancing. With the equipment that I had brought along I build a little photo booth. As the children went, the boy started rapping and for me it was time to go home.

Obrigada Wesley pelo convite, foi um dia muito bom e interessante!

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