Pigs in the Sludge

August 22, 2009

On our way back from Teresopolis, we entered the city in a way that I haven’t been before.  Maybe we didn’t notice on the way out because it was dark, but on the way back we passed through new slums, new favelas that were sadder and dirtier and more packed than Rocinha or Canoas.  There was a canal of dense green sludge that ran through and between the precarious brick homes and the highway.  Every building looked tired and broken, leaning on one another for support. Tattered clothes were strung between them, the clotheslines holding up the structures like puppet strings.  Pigs and goats rooted through and nuzzled charred piles and plastic bags where garbage was burned along the sludge canal.  I hoped and prayed that was not their main water source.  I could only imagine what it all smelled like in the summer when temperatures climbed to 40 degrees centigrade (104 fahrenheit).  What’s the way to make this festering mess better? More stable, less toxic? My words do not adequately describe the goats and pigs walking down the streets of this favela, the lack of people.  The hopelessness.

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