October 30, 2019

Internet Breakdown in Brazil

I don't know exactly what happened, because the brazilian government says nothing about it. Fact is: Internet in Brazil got down for more than a week. Every kind of online activity got affected by the major breakdown. Some people say it was some sort of problem in the major brazilian ISP equipments, and some other say the breakdown was caused by a group of hacktivists.
Anyway...almost everything is made through the Internet. Money withdrawals, shopping, medical appointments, television, telephony, and so on.
The breakdown directly affected me. I use the 'net all day long at work. So, i lost some jobs because of the breakdown, and i'm not happy about that, not at all.
I felt what being a digital orphan is like. The connections aren't good yet, but at least they're up again. I hope it's not too late.

October 14, 2019

The media covering the drought

I have a friend who works for a major tv broadcasting company here. He's a journalist, and writes for the nightly news. He knew i'm a GEAS volunteer, and after GEAS released their report about the drought in Sao Paulo, he asked me if he could interview me about it. I agreed.
He's coming over to the office tomorrow. I hope and can give him a precise picture of what we're doing at Superstruct.

By the way, the GEAS report caused a buzz in the news today. The Sao Paulo state governor said that he wasn't aware that the drought crisis was that big. Yeah, but we know it is, Mr. Governor.

I'll try to post the interview in first hand here. Stay tuned.

October 13, 2019

Lil' Devils Ruined our Garden

I live in a condominium, an apartment building, with 19 other families. Almost all of us have kids...little kids, teenagers, some young adults. But the kids from the apartment 22 are true devils.
3 little devils, who already broke some windows when they were playing ball at the playground, they mistreated some cats and yesterday they ruined our garden.
I say our garden because the garden is collective, it belongs to everyone in the building. We all pay for it, and those of us who are into gardening - myself, for example - take care of the garden; but everyone in the condo is allowed to grab veggies from our garden, even if they don't collaborate with the expenses.

The bell rang, and a neighbor -- who's also a good friend of mine -- had a desperate look in his face. Right away i thought that somebody was dead, or that something really really bad had happened.

-- The devils! The effing devils ruined the garden. I'm gonna kill them, i will, i swear to god that i'm gonna kill the little bastards.
-- Woot!? Wa...wait.....what do you mean "they ruined the garden"? What happened??
-- You sure you wanna hear?
-- Crap, shoot!
-- Someone forgot a hoe down there. The bastards saw it, and decided they were gonna play in the garden. It's a mess...no, no...it's more than a mess. It's pure mud, man, you gotta see it for yourself, c'mon.

They neighbor grabbed me by my sleeves and threw me into the elevator. He was sweating like a pig, and i must admit: his face was hilarious! I held onto my shoes not to histerically laugh that moment. Haha.
When we got to the ground i could feel the smell of fresh earth. We got out of the lobby and then i saw the worst scene ever: our garden; ruined.
I lost my breath right away, and then i understood the neighbor's despair.

What are we gonna do now? The garden was like our secondary food source, but we relied on it when our monthly money was almost over. In fact, some families were feeding themselves exclusively from the garden.

The little devils broke our food chain. I'm gonna break their video-game. I will, i swear.

October 08, 2019

Dude, where's my water?

I often say that, specially when i find out that it's Wednesday, around 2AM.
You're probably asking why, right? Yeah, why?
Because rain decided not to fall upon Sao Paulo anymore! The city is almost 160 days without a single tiny raindrop. This caused a cascade effect, over many aspects of the city's life.
The air is heavier than ever. Without rain, the atmposphere never gets cleaned, and we - residents - are the victims of the over-dusty air. We inhale pure poison, and each day even more people are buying gas-masks to be able to breathe.
Another thing...without rain, trees are dying, and we're not even able to water the trees ourselves. because we need to save the water to our personal needs. Unfortunately, the city is losing it's green cover. Okay, the green cover wasn't big, after all.
Our streets are nastier than ever -- without rain the sidewalks become a sandy place to walk on. This isn't good at all, because our shoes get dirty quicker than before, and how do we clean it without water? It's not possible. Well, someone might send them to a dry-laundry, but it's expensive as hell, and most of us would rather buy galons of drinkable water than spend money cleaning shoes. (Some people spit on their shoes to clean 'em up; i wouldn't say that, but i had to, sorry.)
I'm not gonna say anything about our toilets, not at all. I don't want you to puke. Let's skip that part, right? :)

The worst thing is the water rationing. Each day of the week, an area of Sao Paulo don't receive water, except for the central area, where the rich people live. Go figure, huh?
I decided to write about the water because today i had to take a ultra-high-quick shower. I forgot it was my day to live in the desert.
What shall we do? Cry, to replenish our reservatories?
I love this city. but i hate it at the same time. I'm gonna tell you more about Sao Paulo in some other posts.
Gotta go now, or i'll find the terrible traffic jam. At 5:30 AM, yeah.

October 03, 2019

Manuel gets a job

After a few days, Manuel found himself at home. The kids and the dog loved him, but my wife didn't. Actually, she got pretty uncomfortable having a total stranger suddenly living under the same roof as her, in her house, in her home, among her family. She told me Manuel had to leave, or she would, and she would take the kids with her.
I sat down and started wondering how the hell i was going to find Manuel a new home. He couldn't go back to the streets, that wasn't a fair option, right? So, i decided to have a little talk with Manuel.
He was in the living room, laid back on the couch, watching a movie and eating peanuts.

- Sorry Manuel, can i interrupt you for a few minutes?
- Yeah, sure.
- Great...Manuel, what's your profession?
- Oh, it's a bit complicated, my friend. In my hometown i used to teach kids. I did that for free, because i believe we should help our community in any possible way. But that's not my real profession. I don't have a specific profession, actually...i run some errands; i fix roofs, i paint houses, i can be a plumber -- a good plumber, if i might say so.
- Would you like to work for us at the office?
- Of course i would! When should i start?

We weren't in need of someone at the staff, but this was the only way i could get Manuel a new home, a job, and keep my wife. What was i supposed to do? I wasn't kicking him out, not a chance. Since i had some "decision power" at the office, i could convince the boss to accept Manuel as a new staff member. I really didn't know what he would be useful for, but i decided to give him a chance.

- Tomorrow sounds good?
- Sounds excellent. What will i do?
- Ehm... you're gonna work for us as a General Assistant.
- Great!
- So, wanna talk about your salary?
- No, no...you pay me what you think is fair, i don't care. Plus, i think i owe you for feeding and sheltering me.
- Oh, don't mention it. Okay, that's that. We're done. -- i smiled at him.

I went to my bedroom wondering why the heck i was doing all that for a total stranger. But he wasn't a total stranger anymore, he was a friend already.

September 30, 2019

Manuel finds a home

Sao Paulo has a lot of homeless people, especially downtown. Until 2012, all of the homeless were brazilians, and this scenario started changing when the civil war in Bolivia started.
The brazilian government estimates that around 500.000 bolivians came to Brazil as civil war refugees, and a big slice of these people decided to come to Sao Paulo, illuded by the city's figure, very similar to what happened to brazilian northeasterners, who also came to Sao Paulo looking for better oportunities, during the 1960's.

The next day i went to the office thinking about Manuel. In a matter of fact, i couldn't stop thinking about him since we met, and i didn't even know why.
I already had plans for him. I felt like i had to help that man in any possible way. I put myself in his position: what if my family suddenly didn't exist anymore? What if my hometown suddenly became a hostile place? What if i find myself in a strange place, hopeless, helpless and jobless? I would expect an angel to save me, nothing else. I would've spent days and days and days crying, blaming fate.

I jumped outta the bus as usual, walked a few blocks and i saw Manuel standing in the same spot as he was standing the day before. I walked towards him.
- Good morning fella.
- Good morning, how are you doing Jorge?
- I'm fine, very fine. How about ya?
- Good too. Didn't sleep too well today, it was too hot. I sweated all night long. And some bolivian kids shouted until 3AM. Hell, true hell.
- Haha. Manuel, i need to tell you something. I was gonna bring you some clothes today, in a nice bag, but i haven't brought it, sorry.
- Oh, okay. No problems.
- Know why?
- Because you forgot?
- No, i didn't. I deliberately decided not to bring the clothes. I want to invite you to stay in my house for some time.
- Woot!?
- You heard. I'm inviting you to go to my house, settle down yourself there for some time, until we find you a job and a place of your own. What do you say?
- I don't say anything man. I can't accept it.
- C'mon Manuel, don't be so stubborn. Can you swallow your pride only today? I really wanna help you. I don't know, i just feel like i need to do it, plus, i wanna do it.
- Don't you have a wife, kids, dog, cat, whatever?
- I do, and i already told my wife i was bringing a permanent guest.
I lied. I didn't tell her.
- What did she say?
- She said you're very welcome, and i asked her to make a special dinner for us tonight.
She would probably order it.
- I'm not gonna say no. Your kids yell at night? Do you have kids, by the way?
- I do, two kids. A boy and a girl. Well, sometimes they cry through the whole night, but i think you know howto deal with that, since you were a father too, right?
At this moment a tear started running through his face, and i realized i shouldn't have said that.
- Oh, sorry Manuel, sorry. I didn't meant.
- It's okay. So, when do we go? I really could do with a shower.
- Wanna go now? I can call the day off, i think my boss won't mind.
- Really?
His eyes sparkled.
- Yes, sure. I mean...i hope so. Hang on, imma call the office.
I called to my boss and told him what the situation was. The tone of his voice wasn't too friendly, but he agreed on giving me a day off.
- We're cool Manuel. Shall we go?

We faced 3 hours stuck in the traffic, but we finally got home. The apartment was empty; my wife was at work, and my kids were in the daycare.

- Welcome home Manuel. This is your new home. Don't feel threatened, embarassed, or whatever. Come're, imma show you your room.
The apartment had a spare room, planned to be a maid's room. Since we didn't have a maid, the room was available. It wasn't empty though...it was full of useless old stuff which should have been thrown away a long ago, but we were always too lazy to do that.
After 2 hours cleaning up the room, Manuel had a new bedroom. And he could finally clean himself.
- Jorge, can i take a shower? I feel dusty, sticky...
- Of course you can. Let me get you a towel.
I went to the drawer and grabbed him a fluffy towel.
- Here's your towel Manuel. Today i'll let you have a long bath, but don't get used to it. We have a policy here stating that all our bathes takes no longer than 5 minutes.
- Sure thing.