Sunday, March 27, 2011

J = João

A long overdue family visit and a welcome opportunity to drop the anonymity of initials. J is João. Dear John.


His house is situated in one of the three favelas surrounding São Jorge (which you may remember from here). João is doing exceptionally well; continuing with school (which probably patronises his fierce intelligence), this ‘graduate’ of Crackland, rescued from the street and - after passing almost nine months at the house - has now returned to his mum.

He took me for a little tour of the neighbourhood and, while hopping over broken drainage pipes and ducking under washing lines burdened with children’s clothes (bursts of softener in the nostrils among an alternating stench of dog poo and human waste), he spoke fondly of his daily visits to Casa Semear nearby, the drug dealers on the corner (who no longer aggravate him, probably because of his new height) and his desire to start a blog slagging-off the local authority for all of its shortcomings.

“They’ll bulldoze your shack,” I say, with a wary expression.
“I’m using a made-up name - obviously,” he retorts. “João Fedor” (João Stink).

I'll have to look out for that one.

a river runs through it

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