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November 11, 2008



Now you are seeing the Rio nobody shows to the world. This is the reality of the "Cidade Maravilhosa" that is not wonderful for a very long time. Try and go to the "suburbios" and "Zona Oeste" and you will a lot more. Congratulations for posting this and alert other people about the reality of several kids not only in Rio, but all over Brazil.


The scary reality is that with the world economy sinking, the prevalence of street people will increase in Rio as well their counterparts across the globe. Concurrently, charitable organizations will be receiving less money to address this problem and governments with less tax income will have fewer resources to lend support.


This is good writing. It creates an image that cameras cannot.


This is the sad reality of Brazil.

It is even worse. Some parents force their children to beg as they make larger amounts of money. And encourage them to steal. Some put their own children in brothels (specially in the Northeast region of Brazil).

Lula's government has created "Bolsa Escola" which gives money for the families that keep their children in the schools, however some families that do not need this money end up getting this benefit, and there are other families that are literally quitting their jobs and relying solely on this money for their monthly income.

It is very frustrating that this situation is still very common even though the country's economy is in much better shape...



I like your perception sense of the Rio everyday life. We are so familiar with it that we've lost a little of our power of critic. Congratulations on your blog!!!


Before I moved to Canada I had to see this same situation every day: a little boy without legs begging in the street, taking the risk to be hit by a car.
Now I live in a city where you see hiring signs in every corner, while many businesses are having a hard time to find employees. And for complete disgust I see perfectly health young people begging in the streets just because they don't want to have a job like everybody else.
I just wish I could take this people to a city like Rio or São Paulo, so they would see how 'fun' is to watch the reality of so many children who live in poverty.

Tim Stackhouse

Very well written, Rachel.

I see similar scenes here every day and it's a sadness that doesn't go away to know that there are so many children (and adults) who live that way in the world.


In Hong Kong, the disabled and elderly are brought in from the Mainland by the Triad and forced to beg in central locations. They receive very little, if any, of the money donated by the soft-hearted: http://flickr.com/photos/jennobryan/1854303478/sizes/o/in/set-72157600949553053/

When I lived in SP, I struggled with first-worlder guilt at the scene of such young kids living in the street and the cynicism that evolved over months of having these same kids aggressively block my path on the sidewalk. Still, it was tragic to walk home from the supermarket with my Brazilian roommate and watch her nonchalantly step over what seemed to be a pile of rags at a distance but was actually a 7-or-8-year-old kid curled up under the layers of cloth to keep warm.


These are scenes you see every day in Santo Domingo, too (as you know). I really struggled with how to handle them... and I think it got to the point that I just developed a thick skin. If I let my heart break everytime I saw one, I wouldn't be able to handle the pain.

But I also think it's important to strike a balance. We can't be too callous, but we should also try to see these people... really see them in their struggles, and not just turn a blind eye. It's a thin line...

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