Friday, 10 December 2010

No Olho da Rua 08/12/2010

Elisangela's not at home / Licaõ's rat ramp

We went to Elisangela's apartment yesterday and she wasn't there. Her sister, two nieces and two daughters were. They simply said she 'went out yesterday and hasn't come back yet' and seemed completely at ease. We gave the children their pictures from the zoo trip, stayed a while and then left Elisangela's 2 processed films for her to open when she got back. On Sunday she hadn't made it to the zoo - they'd all stayed the night at Licaõ's place and Elisangela couldn't get up, had probably overdone it a bit.

We couldn't find Sandro either which was a shame as I leave on Thursday, and with him in particular, I wonder if he'll still be around when I next come back. We leave him a note with the guy who runs the bar he's generally sitting outside. Patricia and Murilo will probably see him on Saturday at the 'Soup', where they can all go and get a proper meal for free, at least once a week.

Licaõ's place was as usual, calm. As such places go, as I've mentioned before, it's really a pleasant setting. Lots of rubbish around of course, but it's relatively quiet, some 75 metres from a road (street people usually live with trucks and buses thundering past their ears) and there are those beautiful mango trees to sit under. They have news about Elisangela and also Bilu. Rumour has it they are both in prison. Licaõ says they could lock Bilu up for 10 years this time as he's only out on license and hasn't been 'signing on', plus he has a fake ID. He seems to be implying Bilu is a pretty useless petty criminal. Haidé arrives and says she also believes they are inside. No one knows what has actually happened or if they do they aren't saying, but it's a pity Elisangela has got tangled up with Bilu. We speculate that this is about her electric bill (see No Olho da Rua 02/12/2010), that Bilu was only allowed to stay at Elisangela's apartment if he took responsibility for sorting it out; or it could have just been to feed a hunger for crack. Whatever, if she's in prison it's a potential disaster re her new life / new apartment etc. And with Manchinia in prison too, what about their kids? We worry she could lose everything....

Luceni, a neighbour who was also living on the street, took the picture of Elisangela at her window last week. It's hard for them both the transition, clearly even harder than we initially thought. Nearly all their friends are still out there, or it seems sleeping on Elisangela's floor and she seems to be a regular weekend sleeper at Licaõ's. Bilu had said, only half joking, that Elisangela hadn't left the street, just moved it in to her flat. Luceni told us she'd been incredibly lonely there in the apartment block at first, just 4 walls and an old television instead of all the activity outside. Now though she has a boyfriend who has a job and her sister and niece have moved in too so she's coping much better.

Licaõ has a laugh showing us the ramp he has installed for the rats to more easily get up into the mango trees. I take a picture of it which i'll post later if it's half interesting. He says there are more than enough mangoes for everyone and he'd prefer to share them than the meat / rice / beans etc that are kept on the 'ground floor'. There is a stew cooking as darkness falls. An ancient pot balanced on a bit of scrap metal mesh laid across a scrap wood fire.

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