The chalice of life

Indifferent to the chaos that surrounds her and where she has to work hard to rescue scraps of survival, this mother breastfeeds her child in a moment of complicity of enormous tenderness and love. That is all she has to give him, and she always does it with dedication and care, even when survival is postponed to the next day. Under the proud look of the mother, he holds her breast in a delicate gesture while he sucks the sap of life, as if it were a precious chalice

The meaning of being mother

She is a young mother, but she learned early on that she has to be a mother and a working woman at the same time. Since sunrise she has been working here, sitting on top of a mountain of empty seashells that her mother, grandmother, and aunts helped to grow. They all patiently broke each of these seashells with a heavy railroad screw, to sell the mollusks in the markets. All of them took care of their children like this, close to them while they worked hard until exhaustion became unbearable. They all knew the meaning of being a mother, they all came back to this place and were mothers like this every day

A time for love II

Whatever condition a mother lives and works in, whatever her race, creed or religion, the moments of love and care between her and her child are always magical and unique. They are able to make difficulties and uncertainties cease, to make time and destiny pause, to silence crying and affliction, to make us fall asleep and wake up in peacefulness. Each time we witness them they remind us how there is always a time to love

The kingdom of flies

Indifferent to an army enraged by the invasion of its territory already conquered and taken for granted, this man disputes scraps of food with the flies. It could be an apocalyptic scenery in which only insects and a few fortunate human beings would have survived, postponing every day their end to some future. But no. On the other side of the plain, cautiously far away from the pestilence of the toxic fumes rising from the burning garbage, there are people like him who live supposedly normal lives and who do not suspect that this kingdom of flies exists

To a lesser God

Lifting his eyes to the sky and desperately seeking a sign or a revelation in response to so many questions and pleas, seems to be the only thing left to him. Although the answers are delayed as if they were always being postponed to the next day, faith is unshakable and once again he begs for all that has always been denied to him. Certainly not much, because he has probably already resigned himself to being son of a lesser God

Mimetism

Yes, there is a human being here! Indistinct, almost imperceptible. Wrapped in rags and in an old tablecloth, wearing a boot and a cloth shoe scavenged from the dump, he mingles with the chaos of recently burned debris, still hot and smoking. Camouflaged in this gloomy mimetism, he seems to be having a picnic, but in fact he is seeking bottles and cans to sell, a silent war he fights every day witnessed only by the flies

Defeated

The end of the day is approaching rapidly and with it darkness will cover the dump like a thick blanket. Alongside their parents, they have scavenged through the leftover trash all day, looking for something they could grasp. A piece of clothing, a dismembered doll, or a plastic car without wheels could put a smile on their sad and tired faces. But no, today they have been defeated! As if they were exhausted soldiers who have fought a losing battle, they let their weapons hang down. Discouragement and disillusionment are evident. They are left with tomorrow, which only fate knows if it will be like so many other defeats

The freedom of nudity

They were born and raised with the sea right there, tempting, welcoming, challenging. Endless hours of playing in the warm, shallow waters of the bay stirred their imagination and inventiveness, pushing them to perfect their dives. Each of them rehearses theatrical gestures on top of an old fishing boat before launching themselves into the air in graceful arcs that culminate in perfect entries into the water. All of them try to go higher and reach further in the dives, in a competition where the only winners are the laughs and a contagious joy. Freedom and a perfect communion with nature are their companions in everything they do, there is only water, earth and air between them and surrounding them. Nudity, just as innocent and natural as the water they dive into, is one of the expressions of that freedom and communion, bringing additional beauty to these moments of pure fun

Tristesse

Nobody remembers her real name, she probably doesn't either. Everyone calls her "Chatinha" (boring girl) because from a very young age she liked to lean against people, perhaps seeking just a touch of affection. Chatinha is an orphan, she never knew her father or her mother. The two balloons she found intact in a pile of garbage quickly lose their magic and everything is the same again at the top of this hill. Once again, dusk comes hand in hand with loneliness and sadness

Need for a change

Changes here do not depend on whims or wills. The simple choice of which shoes to wear or whether he prefers one color or shape over others, are options that do not exist here. The only thing that really matters is whether those shoes, that he found among the steaming debris and that were discarded by other people, actually fit his foot. As with his shoes, he is helpless in front of his destiny and he cannot cross over to the other side of the fence of life, the one where people discard old shoes. How far these changes are from those we have been used to and do not really value!

A time for love

She is a mother like any other. But here, in the chaotic and desolate landscape of the dump where she lives, she seems to scrutinize the horizon in search of a destiny different from the one she has always known and where survival seems to be the only thing that is part of it. It is a moment of anguish and anxiety, but it is also a moment of enormous beauty and peacefulness as she breastfeeds her child. It is a time for love even if she knows that tomorrow will be ungrateful for her again

Fragile

From behind his mother, who keeps him firmly tied to her by a cloth even while she works hard from sunrise to sunset, he threw a hand in my direction. I may never come to know the true meaning of this gesture. A silent, still unconscious plea for help that he will surely need in the future? An invitation to play with someone who has changed the chaotic and boring landscape, the only one he has known since he opened his eyes? Whatever the answer the future may bring, it has been etched in my soul how fragile he is and how strong this mother has to be

The dump ballet

One of them just found a ball while scavenging in the dump, a reason to momentarily forget their hard work and play a heated soccer game. There are no teams or age breakdowns, they play everyone against everyone else, the goal is to outwit the others with challenging touches and stay in possession of the ball as long as possible. Bare feet, flip-flops and shoes without pairs also recovered from the dump, compete for the empty ball on the dusty ground, in an elegant and improvised choreography. A simple empty ball has thus turned the heavy and gloomy working environment of the dump into a wonderful moment of joy

The scale of life

While carrying her child on her back, this woman wanders through the dump collecting pieces of metal to sell, the only thing of value left after the possibility of finding food scraps has already been exhausted. The fumes and toxic flies are his only companions in this desolate landscape, she has already given up hope of looking upwards and finding help. Only at the end of the day will she know how much the weight of her day's work is worth, when the bits of metal discarded by consumer society are weighed in the scale. A scale that, on the other plate, has the weight of a life. How fragile is this balance that has to be renewed every day! How fragile is the scale of life!