Last week we read encouraging reports of the ‘Pacification’ of the favelas in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood district, home to the staff and children of the Living & Learning Project. Accomplished peacefully largely because the drug traffickers were given warning of the Police entry, thus to avoid the street battles and the involvement of the innocent as reported in an earlier post.( 09/02/2011) We wondered what the reality was for our friends living through the experience and Beth has kindly transcribed some of their memories and reflections for us to read:
Wellington – “I did not see any difference after the entry of the Civil Police, Military and the Battalion of Shock on February 6. The bandits who had police record left, but they still rule the community. The sister of one of my neighbors gave an interview to a newspaper television talking about the UPP in the community and was eventually expelled from the community by bandits, so for me still the same thing. But I wish changes for better.”
Mônica – “On Sunday, February 6, the community where I live has been taken by the police, but days before that event the bandits escaped and moved to other slums. The entrance of the police happened differently than it usually does, because everyone expected that police would approach to all who enter and leave the community, but they did not. We’re still in expectation of our homes to be searched. Despite the “law” remains the same (the bandits law), I expect that to change, change too much, especially the education of children and young people because if they have education, they do not go to the crime.”
Fabiana – “The occupation of the “favelas” was on February 6, a Sunday, where the police have risen in the hills with tanks, helicopters and many police officers, but without giving a shot. They went into some suspected houses, but did not take anyone arrested. They did not get into my house, but passed on the road with a lot of education, greeting residents. Now, we, the residents, we live a different reality, with more “hope.”
Ana Cristina – “A police raid was quiet and there was no shooting or confusion. They were at my house and just looked at the backyard, then they were gone. In my opinion, not much has changed until today, because I do not see police on the streets as the newspapers reported, and the bandits are slowly coming back, they just are not armed. I hope that when the UPP is installed, things improve.”
Moving insights into people’s lives that bring to mind why the ‘Living and Learning project’ is so important for communicating the truth that though far away others care deeply about their struggles and aspirations.