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Noises in the Favela

April 10, 2012

A street in BabiloniaIt is Friday.  I remain overwhelmed.  There is much to see, do and little time for me to do it in.  As I write, it is before 7 am;  a street vender is walking through the  cool and newly cleansed alleys – there was a long awaited heavy rain storm during the night. He is sounding a horn and shouting his wares – my attentive translators have gone to work an hour a go. So I remain ignorant of his merchandise that he carries on his head.

I close the curtains against the rising sun and dust that will undoubtedly come as the streets dry again.

Now, hearing only the sounds of the alley; as the bar tender next door lifts the metal shutters of the café and begins to sweep – coughing and spitting- his section of the alley. The family opposite spill out on to the path and go down to take the bus to school. Another horn man comes up the steps. A pair of dogs quarrel noisily, but even they realise the futility of this and find a cool spot to snooze a while – I hope.  While a child beats a tuneful a rhythm on his school bag perhaps?  It is pleasant respite to the un-tuned horn, still squawking up the alleys. A child cries woefully while I consider the reasons, a radio is turned on the newsreader witters meaninglessly as I struggle to concentrate.  She does not obliterate the continual throb of the heavy machinery as it drags the poor and makeshift amenities and services of the 19th century,  in the road that joins the favela  to Leme high street, up to date!

The news reader fades and Witney Houston removes me from my meaningful prose again.

I cannot remain curtained for long refilling my tea cup I watch, men remove and replace beer barrels next door, rolling and spinning them up and down the steps –sitting on them in doorways every so often to enjoy air – still cool.  They instruct one another loudly; for me with obvious incoherence.

Mammas tend their door steps more carefully, removing cigarette butts and salvaging beer cans and plastic bottles.  These are religiously collected for a small but significant return in a financially delicate environment.

The noise rises above the natural again, men and boys roar cheerfully,  the dogs bark and the excitement rises for what?  I remain alien.

The looming clouds suggest more rain and the planned walk to the beach may be postponed

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