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Merry Christmas from São Paulo

Gabriella struggles with all her gifts as adults in the area lean against a wall. (photo by Anna Reed)

 

Feliz Natal from São Paulo, Brazil!!  Myself and nine other awesome photojournalism students are spending our winter break working on stories in and around the city.  We will use our photos and video to produce short multimedia/documentary pieces and show them back home in theaters in Nebraska to raise awareness of social issues and hopefully raise money for organizations e feel are making a difference.  Stay tuned for more about that.

Myself and Brianna Soukup are working on a story of Cracolandia, an area in the Luz neighborhood. Several blocks are populated by people who are addicted to crack. It has been a ver hard story for us for a number of reasons.  First of all, it is emotionally draining.  I get so upset everyday that I can’t do anything immediately to help these people. The drug is very addicting and the high doesn’t last long, making most of their time miserable and on edge looking for their next hit.I have seen some people who have gotten too high and are unable to even control their body movements. People smoke crack right in the open in the middle of the day-hundreds at a time.  The police stand by everyday. And secondly, it can be dangerous. When we walk through the area without our cameras visible, nobody seems to even notice we are there.  But as soon as we had our cameras out yesterday, people began to throw rocks and yell. The men with us had to quickly calm down everyone.

And I am especially torn up because of all the children who must live in the area. Yesterday, Brianna and I went out with a religious NGO in the area called Cristolandia to give out Christmas presents to kids in the area. That was very meaningful. We were able to take photos in this area because it is not the heavily populated area where the people who are addicted to crack stay.  It was a more calm community, but most of the adults still smoke crack, the workers at Cristolandia said. But seeing the kids with the gifts was probably my best and most meaningful Christmas Eve ever.

Check out the class’ blog here.

 slum near Cracolandia. (photo by Anna Reed)

Children stand under a bridge near train tracks in the Cracolandia area of São Paulo. (photo by Anna Reed)

 

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