Friday, October 22, 2010

A Different View of the Favela (Jeremy)


There are a couple of recent events that I wanted to relay, so this post will run less like a story and more like an update. First, the special forces police assumed control of Morro dos Macacos on Thursday of last week, supplanting the local drug lords. Rumors have been circulating since March that this would happen sometime late this year or early next, as Rio prepares for the World Cup of 2014 and the Olympics of 2016. Still, we were all quite surprised when it actually happened. The interesting aspect of this somewhat non-traditional coup was that it all went down without a shot being fired. The drug lords had been forewarned of the attack and chose to flee to neighboring favelas instead of putting up a fight. Police occupation of the favela has engendered a type of temporal and superficial peace. Now, we walk the tight streets with less concern about where to hide if we got caught in crossfire between gang members and police. Today, we were even able to take pictures of Kristin, Jason and her family (see above) in the favella, an act that would have been inconceivable a week and a half prior. This means that the scene that Kristin captured in her last post on our blog will play out on other hills for the time being. But, we are not convinced of the long-term effectiveness of this measure. While it makes life easier for now, it could be creating more problems for tomorrow. I compare it to placing a band-aid on skin cancer. Nonetheless, we wait to see what God will do with the more favorable conditions.

As for the guys in the house, this week was marked by some encouraging conversations. Adilio is starting to connect the dots between today's habits and tomorrow's reality. Claudinho made a great comment about his tendency (and ours) to make morality rather than God's grace the central theme of his story. Anderson trusts himself a little less and God a little more these days. Finally, Paulo is starting to believe that the bad things he learned about himself while he was away are not a threat to God's grace but rather an invitation to it. We love living with these guys because of all they have to offer us (which doesn't negate the fact that they still need to learn to lift the seat).



6 comments:

Bri said...

Thanks for the update! It's awesome to hear the encouraging stuff that is taking place in the house with the guys. I'm praying for you all and the recent changes in the morro. It does sound like a bandaid and not a real solution, but we all know that God can bring His true peace in the midst of all the chaos and craziness. (p.s. Kristin's baby bump is super cute!)

Christy said...

Such a different world. So is it just a bandaid because the police will eventually vacate and let the drug lords resume control? Does this make the other favelas worse?

Jean Joiner said...

Can't believe that the police took over with so little violence. Kristin, you are looking adorable!

Carol & Jeremy said...

In response to Christy's question, the situation in favelas outside of Rio is getting worse as drug lords seek refuge in these places. Additionally, we are worried that the situation may revert back after 2016, when there is no longer incentive to keep these areas in check.

trmills said...

You guys are fighting the good fight, and we love and pray for you. Thanks for the beautiful picture of family and new life (hey, Baby!) in the midst of brokenness... -Rhi

Stephen said...

It still feels like a blessing for you and the other residence just the same. I am concerned about the areas where the drug lords have moved to. I am sure they are territorial and peace will not last for the others and that violence may someday be pushed back to your favela and will escalate for all the area around you. I pray for you, Carol and Jeremy, and the others and ask Gods blessings for all of Brazil.
Your Uncle Steve from Cleveland