All posts tagged: Brazil

Homeless Man Goes To The Hospital, Staff Soon Realize That Hes Not Alone

Hospital staff bear witness to some of the most intense and dramatic situations, saving and losing lives is a daily occurrence for these everyday heroes.

With such a physically and emotionally draining occupation, it must come as a great relief to experience moments of pure and simple joy such as this one, shared by Brazilian nurse Cris Mamprim.

Image credits: Cris Mamprim

The scene unfolded at Hospital Regional Alto Vale, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. At 3 am on a Sunday morning Cris was doing her night rounds when a homeless man called César was admitted to receive medication for an ongoing illness he has been fighting.

However, she soon came to realize that while César might be in a difficult place right now, he’s not short of friends.

Image credits: Cris Mamprim

A small group of four dogs was at the hospital door, waiting patiently for César with slightly concerned looks while he received his treatment. Cris was to discover that these loyal pups are well looked after by César, who often goes without a meal himself to make sure that his furry friends get food in their bellies.

“They are all well taken care of and chubby,” Cris told The Dodo. “Seeing them like that, waiting at the door, only shows how much they are cared for and loved.”

Image credits: Cris Mamprim

As César began to recover, staff invited the dogs in so they could be by his side. They offered him a meal, which he, of course, shared with his buddies. “Believe me, he ate some and saved a bit to give the dogs later,” Cris said. Soon after, César was free to go, back to his daily fight for survival on the streets. However, he is not alone.

The reciprocal love and care that he shares with his canine companions are sure to help keep them all safe out there and is a heartwarming example of enduring kindness in a harsh, unforgiving world.

Here’s what people had to say about the heartwarming story

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The Morbid Discovery That Led to Rios Only Slavery Museum

Mercedes Guimares was renovating her Rio de Janeiro port-area house in 1996 when the construction workers began to uncover bones.

At first, they thought they were the bones of cats and dogs.

Whoever must have lived in your house previously, must have loved cats and dogs, the worker told Guimares. It seems like whenever their cats and dogs died, they buried them in the backyard.

Guimares joined the worker in the backyard to see the bones. She dug through the dirt with her hands and unearthed teeth.

I looked at the teeth and immediately knew that they werent from a cat or dog. They were from humans, Guimares, a 61-year-old Brazilian woman of Spanish and Portuguese heritage, told me.

She then found another much smaller one, probably the teeth of a child. I was thinking that the previous owner killed his entire family, she said. She called a lawyer and the police telling them that she had purchased a house where someone in the family murdered the entire family. But then she backtracked.

Wait a minute. This isnt just one, two, or three people. Theres tons of bones. I stopped to look at the six boxes of bones, and I knew this couldnt just be one family. She then called the neighborhoods resident historian, Antnio Carlos Machado. Through him she learned that her street had once been named Caminho do Cemitrio, Cemetery Path.

Guimares immediately stopped the renovation work.

I wanted to respect the dead, Guimares said.

Guimares house was once the site of the Cemetrio dos Pretos Novos (Cemetery of the New Blacks), where recently arrived enslaved Africans were interred during the Atlantic slave trade. Her house became an archaeological site, with graduate students unearthing the remains in her yardall without the assistance of the city or the federal government. The remains of 26 Africans dating back to 1824, aged 3 to 25, were discovered. Brazilian social scientist Jlio Csar Medeiros da S. Pereira produced a masters thesis about the social history of the cemetery. At the time Guimares helped out with her husbands pesticide business, but she soon found a second callingto respectfully honor the Africans who arrived in Brazil and educate people about their journey.

Over the next 20 years, Guimares turned her house into a private free museum and research institutethe Instituto Memria e Pesquisa Pretos Novos, or, Institute for the Memorial and Research of the New Blacks (IPN). This 3,500-square feet institute is the only place in Brazil that preserves the memory of the human cost of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Since the unearthing of the Cemetery of the New Blacks in 1996, Rio de Janeiro has come full-circle in confronting its past with the Atlantic Slave Trade.

There was nobody who wanted to take care of this, said Guimares when asked why she decided to develop the institute. We saw that nobody wanted to research, nobody wanted to do anything.

Starting in 1597, more than 1.9 million enslaved Africans arrived in Rio de Janeiro at ports near the center of the city. According to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, a project at Emory University, Brazil received about 4.9 million slaves through the Atlantic trade and mainland North America imported about 389,000.

From 1810 until 1840, more than 750,000 Africans arrived at Rio de Janeiros Valongo Wharf, just 700 meters from Guimares house. Most of the new enslaved Africans were young men between the ages of 13 and 20 and many arrived terribly sick. The voyage wreaked havoc on their bodies, which were often covered in open sores and underfed. So many Africans, Pretos Novos (New Blacks), died soon after arriving in the New World, that the city had to find a burial place for them. The Cemetery of the New Blacks of the Valongo was located exactly where Guimares lives today from 1772 until 1830 and between 20,000 to 30,000 Africans were interred in the cemetery during this period. When German naturalist G. W. Freireyss encountered the cemetery in 1814, he found cadavers unearthed by a recent heavy rain, and dozens of bodies that had yet to be interred. An unbearable stench overtook the area and made the lives of locals miserable.

By the mid-1990s, all evident ties of Rio de Janeiros port area to the Atlantic Slave Trade had been erased. The port where enslaved Africans had arrived had been cemented over. Valongo Street, at one time lined with shops that sold enslaved Africans, had been renamed Camerino Street.

In the last seven years, Rio de Janeiros port area has increasingly become an Afro-Brazilian heritage destination. Between 2014 and 2016, more than 50,000 people visited IPN, double the number who visited between 2005 and 2013. In 2011, construction workers in the port area uncovered the Cais do Valongo (Valongo wharf), where more than 500,000 enslaved Africans arrived between 1811 and 1831. An extensive campaign by locals like Guimares led to its preservation and today people can visit its remnants. Last year UNESCO named the Cais de Valongo a World Heritage Site. Rios secretary of culture, Nilcemar Nogueira, has lofty dreams of building a Museum of Slavery and Freedom near the wharf. But this dream is far from realization.

My first visit to the institute happened in 2015, three months after I moved to Rio de Janeiro to cover the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games. I wanted to learn about the citys black history so I signed on to take Sadakne Baroudis all-day Afro-Rio toura six-hour deep dive into the lives of Africans through the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Baroudi, a black American expat, has been giving the tours for the last 10 years and it ends at IPN, the Cemetery of the New Blacks.

I had imagined a small outdoor cemetery with simple, old tombs. I wasnt prepared to find a cemetery on a forgotten street lined with traditional Rio de Janeiro houses, restaurants, and bakeries. Guimares still lived in her house, but she had bought the building next to hers to create the institute. The exhibit area always features a contemporary art exhibit, and back then images from Candombl religious ceremonies covered the walls. The institutes library collection includes every major book published about Afro-Brazilian history and culture.

Baroudi and Guimares invited me to watch a 13-minute video that explained the history of the New Blacks, from their arrival in Rio de Janeiro until the establishment of an institute in their name.

Then I walked into the main display room, where I encountered a hole in the ground with bonesthe bones of the Africans who had died shortly after arriving in Brazil. Wall displays explained the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade in Rio de Janeiro.

The Pretos Novos were the captured Africans who had recently arrived in Brazil and who were soon to be exhibited for sale in the Valongo, one sign said.

Overtime, the cemetery became a dumping ground for bodies and trash that was periodically incinerated to make way for more trash and bodies.

A cemetery is where we ritually inter our dead, Baroudi said. A trash dump is where you throw things that you cant use anymore. Black people and Africans had become things.

During that first visit, I, along with two other Americans, stayed at IPN for hours.

This space exists for the sole reason that Mercedes and her husband, Petrcio, decided that this history couldnt continue to be hidden, said Baroudi. Without them, this wouldnt exist and we wouldnt know about it.

Most of the time, we were just silentthankful that someone would dedicate their life to preserving the memory but shocked that it even existed. Ive returned to the institute at least a dozen times in the last three years, and I always meet people who were just as shocked as I was. I met an Afro-Brazilian woman who was studying for her Ph.D. at an American university. She cried, distraught that she hadnt learned anything about the Atlantic Slave Trade while in school. Another tour guide, an Afro-Brazilian woman, had just started to bring tourists to IPN three years earlier, right before the Olympic Games.

Despite the increased spotlight on Rio de Janeiros African heritage, the Institute of Pretos Novos almost closed in 2017. The Rio city government had financed the minimal administrative costs of IPN since 2011 but a new government cut Guimares funding.

I cant charge people to visit a cemetery, Guimares said.

Supporters of the institute, Brazilians, and foreigners, banded together behind a campaign named IPNResiste! (IPN Resists)to raise money to keep the institute open.

This crisis happened as the institute was undertaking its largest archaeological project ever. Researchers uncovered its first full-skeleton from the Cemetery of the New Blacksa young woman between the ages of 20 and 25 years who they named after the black Catholic saint, Bakhita. Visitors can see the skeleton today.

On my last visit to IPN, I met an Afro-Brazilian woman who had been visiting the institute and Guimares house since 1996 and supported IPN during last years financial crisis.

The first time I visited, we had no idea what everything was, Joyce Arago said. It means much more than bones. The history of our country is here. Its not easy for me to visit this. They are my family. My family came from Africa and this happened to us. I am here because someone came from Africa.

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Lula’s ‘heir’ sets his sights on becoming Brazil’s youngest president

Guilherme Boulos, only 35, has a slim chance in the October election, but hes already seen as a potential successor by Lula himself

It sounds like the longest of long shots.

Guilherme Boulos has never stood for political office of any kind, but he is somehow now aiming for the very top job.

Clearly, its a David v Goliath battle, the 35-year-old social activist admits of his unlikely quest to become Brazils youngest ever president. But its something that we must face.

Polls leave no doubt that Boulos who is running alongside indigenous activist Snia Guajajara for the leftist Socialism and Liberty party has a wafer-thin chance of achieving his goal when Latin Americas biggest democracy votes on 7 October.

In the longer term, however, the So Paulo-born politicians prospects look far brighter. As Brazils crisis-stricken left comes to terms with the sidelining of its torchbearer, former president Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, Boulos is being touted as a potential successor not least by Lula himself.

In his last public speech before being jailed last month, Lula clutched Bouloss hand and urged supporters to take note of this companheiro of the highest quality. Turning to Boulos next to him on stage, Lula added: Youve got a bright future, brother, just dont ever give up.

Boulos poses for photographs with artists and activists during a recent visit to Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Tom Phillips for the Guardian

Lula made no fewer than five allusions to the activist during that parting address, Piau magazine noted in a recent profile proclaiming Boulos o herdeiro or the heir: Nobody was mentioned or praised as much.

Boulos, who shares Lulas eventually relinquished love of smoking and the Corinthians football club as well as his legendary charisma, has downplayed that nickname, while recognising parallels between his 16-year struggle for social justice with the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) and Lulas championing of the poor. Only the dead have heirs, Boulos said during a high-profile television interview this week.

But that widely applauded TV appearance only intensified chatter over Bouloss status as Lulas inheritor. In an article headlined The Star is Born, political journalist Luis Nassif celebrated the birth of a national leader. Leonardo Boff, a leftist theologian and longtime Lula confidant, seconded the emotion, tweeting: You are a new leadership in Brazil.

During a recent interview with the Guardian conducted while clattering around Rio in the back of a silver Honda compact Boulos spoke of his desire to lead a long-term renewal of Brazils left, a movement at a crossroads after losing its leader of nearly four decades.

He insisted his presidential bid was a genuine attempt to gain power and hoped the anti-systemic frustrations rippling across the globe might boost his campaign. People are tired of the the same old marketing tricks. People no longer have faith in the old ways of doing politics. This opens up an possibility, said Boulos. This is an election in which anything is possible.

Boulos, president of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), speaks after occupying the housing department in So Paulo on 6 December 2017. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

Boulos said combating pornographic levels of inequality would be his priority as president. Brazil is the worlds seventh biggest economy and yet also one of the 10 most unequal, he said as his car sped past Jacarezinho, a vast redbrick favela, on its way to the family home of murdered Rio councillor Marielle Franco.

Brazil isnt just one country, Boulos added that afternoon. Brazil is a fissure. Brazil is an abyss.

He also vowed to build a new kind of politics reconnecting citizens with their detached and discredited political leaders. So often we see the left, all over the world, claiming to speak for the people, in the name of the people, doing programs for the people, he said. Whats harder to find is the left standing together with the people, listening to the people [and hearing] their most fundamental demands for change.

On the campaign trail, Boulos, who holds a masters in psychiatry from one of Brazils top universities, has been doing plenty of that.

After spending the morning with Francos sister and parents, he set off for a round table discussion with leftwing artists and activists who served up a bewildering smorgasbord of demands.

One called for academic quotas for Brazils transgender community; another demanded action against tyrannical media oligopolies; a third protested that the swimming pool of a local state school had become a dumping site for old sofas and dead dogs.

We must roll up our sleeves, hang our pants on the washing line and demand from the government what is ours! a fourth petitioner bellowed to furrowed brows and giggles.

Boulos hugs the niece of murdered Rio councillor Marielle Franco during a recent visit to her family home. Photograph: Tom Phillips for the Guardian

Throughout the meandering session Boulos sat attentively taking notes before ending with a brief but rousing address delivered in a silky baritone not unlike that of his incarcerated political patron.

The would-be president railed against corruption, racism, gender discrimination, the stupid war on drugs and the failings of Brazils inward-looking left which spent too much time preaching to the converted.

Were in a moment of transition. Were entering a new cycle, intoned Boulos, whose purple T-shirt carried the words of the German playwright Bertolt Brecht: Nothing should seemimpossibletochange.

When Lulas increasingly apparent heir concluded he was cheered off the stage and mobbed for selfies.

Back in his Honda and heading to Rios airport, Boulos said his travels around Brazil had convinced him the country needed a leader capable of hearing the clamour of the people.

Perhaps one of the characteristics of our failed political system is that it is deaf Politics is full of people who can come out and make big speeches but someone who wants to govern a country must really know that country and listening is essential to knowing.

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