Last night was an introduction to the real Brazilian culture: I spent the evening watching local soap operas while a colleague had her nails done. We even watched a bit of Big Brother Brazil.
Five of us from ActionAid stayed with a family in Vila Diamante. This is a permanent settlement where land has been reclaimed for the poor. The people here arrived in 1989 with nothing and have built a great community. They grow enough to feed themselves and are able to sell some produce to buy other goods. After many years of struggle, they can now educate their children through the 8th grade. They also have access to basic healthcare.
More than this, they now have a vibrant community with interests like any other. Children play games. Parents talk about tv shows as well as politics. Women work hard to claim their rights, but some of them enjoy taking time to get a manicure. By spending the night here, I get to see many more facets of people’s lives than just the problems they face.