Célia em Movimento

an E-CHANGER volunteer for 7 years, celia worked until june 2007 for the 'gender sector' of the MST/BA - the rural landless workers movement in the northeastern brazilian state of bahia. from then until june 2010 she worked at the international secretariat of the world march of women in são paulo. although she is no longer a volunteer, she still works in brazil with the WMW and E-CHANGER and will therefore continue to share her professional and personal experiences... enjoy!

27 September 2006

i'd like to share with you all a couple of photos taken by jean-david yesterday. they're beautiful and they sum up the season well.

the first is of an 'election candidate car'. on sunday (the 1st october), the brazilians will be voting for new (or, most probably, the same) president, federal and state deputies and federal senators. so it's 'all go' at the moment, as much in the interior of the country as here in the capital - as well as flyers being handed out at every street corner and huge posters of smiling candidates, the candidates' election numbers have been painted on every avaliable wall space and loud speakers fixed on top of cars and vans drive round and round the city with jingles blaring at full volume...

the second photo is of a common scene in the 'sertão' (the very hot, dry area of the interior of the north-eastern states in which the farm that jean-david now lives on

is situated), a small, white church in the
background with a typical, barriguda, tree
dominating the village square in the foreground.
a stunning but very harsh, drought prone, environment in which to live (survive)...

a 'what does celia look like now?' update...

for those of you who've forgotten what i look like after more than 3 years away, here's a quick reminder (photos taken at the beginning of september). it seems that the rate my hair continues to grow is making up for my lack of growth in height when i was younger!

25 September 2006

for those of you who are interested in learning more about the MST, i've recently read an excellent book - in english - that i would highly recommend. here's how 'Cutting the Wire' is described on the back cover:

Cutting the Wire: The story of the landless movement in Brazil
Sue Branford & Jan Rocha (2002) London: Latin America Bureau

Access to land is one of the key issues for developing countries – and Brazil has one of the most inequitable land distributions in the world, with vast tracts of land held by often absentee landowners. Meanwhile thousands of peasants live in marginal lands in cities and rural areas.

The Brazilian Landless Worker’s Movement (MST) has proved a huge success with the disenfranchised rural and urban poor in Brazil – becoming one of the largest social movements in the world. Cutting the Wire is the first account in English of the origins, history and current challenges faced by Brazil’s majority. The authors have travelled the vast expanse of the country to record the words and actions of hundreds of activities who have taken their lives into their own hands.

Cutting the Wire is how the MST describe the act of occupying the land, the cornerstone of their movement. It is the baptism of fire for the militant, as essential part of their identity and it plays a key role in the mística, the moment of collective ritual that kicks off all MST events.

“We have always been told that agrarian reform is a good idea in principle, but the conjuntura, or present moment, isn’t right” says Mônica, an MST leader. “Well, we make the conjuntura right.” The activists become subjects of their own history and by doing so they turn their world upside down. Cutting the Wire is their story, told in their own words, in vivid first-hand accounts of a continuing struggle.

Cutting the Wire documents a struggle which will resonate with campaigners and activists all over the world. It will become essential reading for anyone hoping to understand where the new politics came from and how it works.” George Monbiot

“This is the fullest account of what is probably the most ambitious social movement in contemporary Latin America – essential reading for anyone interested in that continent.” Eric Hobsbawm

12 September 2006

'eldorado': a photo journal of an MST camp

'eldorado' is the MST's permanent camp nearest to salvador, 1 1/4 hours drive away. despite being so close to the capital of the state, the 35 families who have made their homes there face all the usual challenges of surviving in the countryside - lack of basic services (no piped water in the houses, a health post that has never worked, etc), lack of tecnical accompaniment, little access to credit, few leisure opportunities... though facing significant problems, the MST and camp members manage one of our most regularly used training centres within the camp, a centre that I have stayed at several times. most recently, I helped out at a regional women's conference held there, and took the opportunity to photograph images that seem to sum up 'eldorado' well...

click on "Photos: MST Camp 'Eldorado'" in the links section to your left to get a feel for the camps i work in and for what life is like in rural brasil. it's well worth it!

as promised, a few photos from the youth conference back in august. unfortunately no digital ones where taken, so the quality's not great, but at least they give a feel for the event...