Today (Tuesday) we went on a visit
with Robert and Silvana into the favela on one of their weekly family visits.

The visit really made us both
realise the reality of the situations which the children who come to Casa
Semear live in day by day.

Although Kirsty has been to Brazil
and the favela before (the last time being over 5 years ago) and we are living
on the edge of the favela going right into the heart of things really does shed
a different light on it all. The typical view of the favela is that of the red
brick shanty town style houses all built on top of each other and of course
that is what many houses in the favelas are like. However as you go right into
the favela you find many more houses which are made out of scraps of wood
nailed together and corrugated iron roofs.

As you enter the favela you are
struck by how different it truly is. The area we went to is nicknamed ‘The
Jungle’ and you can understand why when you get there – it is a maze of mud
caked paths and hundreds of houses occupying every space. We can’t even begin
to describe the smell which accompanies the favela, let’s just say that
hundreds of people living together in cramped conditions along the side of an
open sewer in a warm climate does not make for the most pleasant surroundings.

We went into the favela to meet
with Henricka, the mother of 2 of the girls who attend Casa Semear in the
mornings. She lives in her house with her other 2 children (twins of 3 years
old) and her 13 year old son currently lives with his grandfather as the house
has been damaged and there is no longer space for them all in the house. This is in large part because recently, as a
result of heavy rain, the space which was the kitchen quite literally was
washed away and the kitchen has had to move into one of the bedrooms. It is
shocking to see what was once a really family space now be some wooden boards
where there was a floor with no roof and very little walls.

We learned that Henricka is a real
focal point of the community within the favela. Whilst we were there a pastor
from the local church arrived with several bags of donated clothes for her to
distribute to those in need in the favela. We also found out that before the
kitchen was swept away she held prayer meetings for the community in her house
and Robert had even been invited to speak at one of those. Unfortunately these
are no longer taking place as she just doesn’t have the space although people
who used to attend have been asking for them to start back.

Although she has so little we were
welcomed with open arms and a friendly smile. Henricka, although she has had a
very difficult life, had such a positive attitude and is still able to be thankful
for what she has and what God has provided.

There has been a recent answer to
prayer in relation to this family. Robert had received contact from a family in
America who wanted to support a family in Brazil. On Saturday a Skype call had
been set up between the families and money has been pledged to support the
family going forward. We were able to discuss the progress with this and how
the money can help in the house. We are hopeful that the money will be able to
be used to rebuild the house in brick to make it a more safe and secure place for
the whole family, and ultimately to reach out into that community.

On our way back to Semear our
guide Henricka took us through the warren of streets to a couple of other
houses which some of the other children at Semear live. Again we were struck by
how little the families have but how they try to make the most of what they do
have and be proud of taking care of their homes.

This afternoon has really
highlighted the importance of the work that Robert and Silvana, and all the
workers at Casa Semear do to provide a wonderful place for the children to go
to. If you want to support the work we have set up a Go Fund Me page to receive
donations. Many thanks in advance

The favela

Henricka’s house

Another favela house