Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Postcards from Argentina :: Saudade Rio

"Saudade" - my favorite word that I have learned in all my travels. While it has no direct translation from Portuguese to English, it has been described as "the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, or well-being. And which now triggers the senses and makes one live again." Perhaps some of my Brazilian friends for whom I have Saudade will chime in to further enlighten us...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rio de Janeiro :: Street kids

We gave these kids a bit of change and some fried cheese my brother was eating. 

I started to walk away to find another beer and to forget about them. Instead, I found myself standing across the street from them, watching. I wanted something from them. 

They were handsome, with intelligent eyes. And gifted actors as well - their faces and actions fleeting quickly and effortlessly through a range of emotions. Some real, some contrived. 

They lived on the street. Their teeth were rotting and they had swollen scars in strange places. One of them wore a glittery lace purse around his waist that he had stolen or found. But their smiles glowed. They were living proof that happiness is relative, and can be found in the most unlikely of places. 

I knew what I needed from them. Pulling out the camera again I tried to distill the chaos of their actions to reveal that simple lesson.  I was surprised to find I had something to give them in return, as their initial mistrust dissipated, and was replaced by proud cavorting and clowning as the presence of the camera, my willingness to sit with them, and curiosity about what they were doing gave them a sense of worth and importance that I hope had as lasting an impact on them as their actions had upon me. 

Read more about the plight of street kids in Rio

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rio de Janeiro :: The kids

 Amidst all the hedonistic revelry of Carnival I found time to sit, converse (in a mix of Spanish, Portuguese and sing language), and pass the camera around with a few different groups of kids. Why? I don't know. Maybe because kids like to play as much as I do. Maybe because I'm still stuck somewhere between a 'kid' and a 'grownup'. Maybe because their eyes reflect a world devoid of the cynicism with which I sometimes see it (see last post). Or maybe it's their curiosity that I find most refreshing.

Photo courtesy of Marina
Portrait by the girl with the red hair