I didn´t get a chance to journal yesterday but I guess we had an eventful day. The plan was to stop in Lapa and then make our way to Santa Teresa after checking out the Carioca Aquaduct – an aquaduct that was built in the mid 18th century to bring fresh water to Rio but is now used as a bridge for a train. Today, it is more commonly refered to as: arcos da lapa – the arches of lapa. Super cool way to repurpuse outdated infrastructure. Anyway, so we got out of the metro and walked into what looked like a super nice area – something we were not used to and had not seen yet. Right when we stepped out of the metro there was a starbucks there to greet us and that was the first clue that the area was well off. So we are walking and I saw a churro spot – Sam had been dying for a churro so I point out the cart on the street. As we are mesmorized by the churros that are rolling around in a cinnamon sugar bath and oh so gently being filled with dulce de leche, these two young boys, probably ages 8 and 6, take advantage of our lustful distraction and keen in on Sams money. She had all of her money out – a lot of cash , credit cards, and a metro card. Jack pot. They aproached us from behind and pretended to sell us candy as they contemplate taking her money. Sam hears one of the boys whispering – take it all, take it all. She gives them 10 reais and they leave. We recieve a stern warning from the churro man telling us never to take all of our money out like that – only small bills. True. As we are walking and eating our Churros – a little shooken up – these two older boys, probably 16 or 17 pass us and ask if we have anything. Sam gave them her water and I gave them the last bite of my churro which the one boy happily ate. While nothing terrible happen it speaks the current situation in Rio. In cases of extreme poverty kids are out on the streets fending for themselves. Throughout all of Rio there are children on the streets finding ways to get money. Some are stealing, some are selling candy, some are selling beer on the streets at night, some are just simply asking for money. I feel many feelings about this. I feel bad because they are kids and you want to help them but you are also scared of them. I am more afraid of the kids then I am anyone else on the streets. You want to help the kids but there are too many of them to consistantly help, and giving them 10 or 20 reais might help them buy food for one day but it will not change their situation. Ultamately, what I take out of this situation is that I am greatful to be where I am at. I am grateful to have lived such a forunante life. I truly appericate all that has been handed to me. Being in another county is helping me to get to know myself as an American. Prior to this experience when people would ask me what I was – resistant to say American – I would say something like – I don´t know, a mut. I would list the various countries that my ancestors came from but that I have no connection too. I felt that as an American I did not have an idenity, I did not want to be an American. This experience is helping me to get to know myself as an American, I am starting to identify with America and I am learning what it actually means to be an American.
I may be finding my identity as an American, but I am also falling in love with Rio.
Photos from July 15th
Churros at last
Clothes drying on plants
Entrance to a favela, also called a community
Street art – the writing translates to –
Women free in thought, free in life, free in…
Street perfromers in Lapa – so cool.