LIVING ON THE EDGE | Drugs, violence and hope in the heart of Rio de Janeiro city
In the Estácio neighborhood, near the center of the city of Rio de Janeiro, the neighborhood is formed mostly by small and old houses, remnants of a time when the place was quiet, lively and one of the cradles of the samba, born in the favelas that surround the region. Over time, however, poverty and violence brought degradation to the place, which housed a huge prison, a hospital for police officers and a large slum under the control of traffickers. A huge silhouette stands out in the middle of this arid gray landscape in which the neighborhood has become. A 10-storey building that used to be the headquarters of one of the largest brazilian media groups: the Manchete magazine.
About 130 families came to occupy their floors, trying to live in the chaos of disease, drugs and violence, in a kind of parallel world where few outsiders were accepted. I was one of those and for some years I shared his confidence and witnessed the intimacy of his daily life.