The Other Side of Sao Paulo

Like all big cities, São Paulo is a city of neighborhoods with characters of their own. The city has some beautiful areas of big homes and beautiful gardens.  It also has some less beautiful sides. The pictures are from a favela are called Heliopolis. You can see what it looks like from the pictures, but the pictures don’t tell the whole story.

The favela is very lively.  You can see the shops. They do some nice graffiti as advertising signs.  The picture up top say “potato point.”

We helped sponsor a jazz workshop in a local music school. I am not a big fan of jazz, but this was a great program. The jazz musicians worked with local music students.  All of them came from the favela and all of them were committed to learning music and by extension other things. For them, music was a live changing experience. I learned from talking to some of them that they did not depend on the “big score”, which is often a curse of the aspirational poor. They weren’t counting on being big rock stars. Instead, they were working hard to perfect their craft.  Most understood that they would not be able to make a career in music, but they knew also that music would enrich their lives and improve it in other ways. The discipline of music was what they wanted and what they were getting. I will add more details in the next post.

People take the opportunity, even in the poorest and ostensibly most hopeless places.  It is a tribute to the human spirit and to the power of arts and music to let it soar.  This is not THE solution to the problems of the favelas, but it is a step in right direction.

Below shows one of the many signs of advancing evangelicalism in Brazil, especially among the poor.