Violence and boredom

Great news- P and I made it out of São Paulo without being robbed, threatened, or murdered even once. Quite a feat if you consider that the favela near Erin's home had 141 murders in the month of September (retribution killings on the police and their families for a huge drug raid apparently) and Erin's housekeeper was mugged right outside the condo gate by a 13 year old boy and his sister. When she recounted the story to us the next day she was laughing.

"I don't have any money" she said, "you should go rob a bank."

"My dad died because he robbed a bank." said the boy, knife against Vera's waist.

Okay then. Cash it is.

Violence and loss (and the accompanying fear of both) are a part of everyday life so many people it blows my mind. I don't even know the half of it, I know. At least, it seems, Brazilians seem to know how to shake it off and party on.

I just finished a book about a woman who worked in the slums of Bahia (a norther coastal town where we'll be going in mid-December) and at one point she's at a festival and is enraged at some something that happened, a guy getting beat up I think. Something that happens all the time but really shouldn't. Her friend from the favela grabs her back into the samba line and says "Dance. It's the only thing we can do."

Always down for a party. We were telling Creoza about how Mardi Gras is our version of Carnival. There are floats, drinking, etc, just no samba. She stopped completely. "No samba? Then what's the point!" More on Brazilian music later.

In thinking of violence, I do wonder what's worse: fearing for safety on a regular basis but filling life with proverbial and actual music or working in one of those superfactories in China - you're safe, sure, but you work 15+ hours a day in a dank, cement room putting labels on some cheaply-made souvenir that will get sold all over the world as a 'local' trinket.

I'm curious, which would you prefer?

No comments: