MST Brasil update from singer Ricky Ross
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Sep 1 13:40:40 BST 2012
Ricky Returns To See Land Rights Progress
Several films to watch here too.
More than a decade after visiting Brazil to
discover how christian aid partner the Landless
Peoples Movement (MSt) helps poor Brazilians get
land of their own, deacon Blue frontman ricky
ross recently returned to see how things have changed.
Under the Brazilian constitution, land that is
not being used can be claimed for redistribution
to people who have no land. MSt helps make sure
that this rhetoric becomes reality. the Scottish
singer, songwriter and broadcaster was first
invited to Brazil by christian aid in 1998. the
families he met at that time were camping under
plastic sheeting at the side of the road while
MSt helped them legally apply for ownership.
On rickys return, he found that things had moved
on a lot for families he had met. Many had camped
for up to 10 years before establishing legal
tenure to build homes and farms. Lucia de Souse
was one of those people. She proudly welcomed
ricky into her home, and told him her children
have grown up and live in settled communities like hers.
I remember the encampment very well, she said.
Life was very difficult. We had six of us in our
tent at that time, and there were significant health and sanitation issues.
Ricky said: I never thought Id get the chance
to come back after all these years and see
someone in their own house, so its a real
pleasure to be here. What I love about christian
aids work in Brazil is that it imagines a better
future and, with some great courage and strength
from local people, that dream comes true.
A full version of this story is available to readers in Scotland on page 24.
See also Rickys blog at christianaid.org.uk/rickyross
Jen (my Christian Aid travelling companion) said
to me yesterday,'What has been your favourite moment so far?'
My favourite moment really wouldn't have happened
to me had a series of slight misadventures not taken place...
Firstly we were delayed getting out of São Paulo
due to heavy traffic on Thursday. With so many
people coming along with us in our minibus,
various items had been forgotten and so we were
already getting near to the end of the daylight
by the time we broke down just outside Bauru.
By the time a brilliant 'Dunkirk'-like flotilla
of MST friends vehicles picked us up and whisked
us on our way to Promissão the dark was falling
and we could only hope we would catch the sights again tomorrow.
It was the gathering dark however that allowed me
to witness one of the most amazing changes since
I'd been here the last time. As we headed towards
Promissão, Mara pointed to both sides of the road
where we could see little twinkling lights breaking through the night.
These were the lights of Dandara, the encampment
I had visited in 1998, now a settled community
with houses and farms dotted all around. It went on for miles.
My thoughts turned back to having coffee and
bread in the tents by the roadside and asking
people if they had ever expected to see a day
when they would be living on their own land.
Seeing the task ahead of them I often wondered
how possible it would be to achieve success, but
on that long road at the end of a long journey I
realised how completely the MST families have realised their dream.
Meeting the partners
Ricky meets our partners in Sao Paulo and sees
why preparations for the 2014 World Cup arent
necessarily benefitting the citys poor.
Its the end of a long day and were standing in
a rubbish dump. When I say rubbish dump I should
be much more accurate; where we are standing is
right next to a rubbish dump and it is a recycle
centre called Coopere Centro and there is a
very satisfied smile on Renes face.
Rene Ivo Goncalves is one of the founding
coordinators of Gaspar Garcia, a neighbourhood
human rights centre supported by Christian Aid
here in Sao Paulo. Renes satisfaction is not
misplaced. Hes been a fine guide on our tour
round some of the work being carried out in the
city and hed be right to feel proud.
However, hes also pointing to the roof of
Coopere which he designed and built...and heck,
it looks good too. Coopere is a recycling
cooperative which takes people who may otherwise
be eeking out a living on the street and brings
them into one of the earliest recycling waste centres in Sao Paulo.
Support comes from Gaspar Garcia and throughout
the day we have been made aware of how important
their work is. There is a movement abroad to
cleanse this sprawling mass and the city centre
is undergoing a huge change to show the world a
new improved Sao Paulo in 2014 for the World Cup.
However, the cost of this is to move thousands of
families out of their poor housing without
offering them real alternatives. Many of these
families will be squatting in old property or
bits of land where they will live in one roomed
houses with next to no sanitation and rather precarious power supplies.
Gaspar Garcia offers these families support and
legal advice in how to establish permanent tenure
of their dwellings or organising them against
sudden expulsions organised to beautify the city in time for 2014.
If you want to gauge how serious a threat this is
I asked Benedito Barbosa, a lawyer from the
centre, if he now would prefer the World Cup not
to happen and he gravely nodded.
Had he known how bad the outcome would be for
these families he said he wished it had never
been planned for Brazil. From a football loving
country thats quite a statement. Tomorrow I go
to the countryside and return to meet some old
friends who have made the land their own in Promissao.
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that
shall not be made known. What I tell you in
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27
Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.
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