For my last blog post I wrote about the reality of poverty in Salvador and how one could get left with an impression that doesn’t reflect the reality. After later experiences, I am glad I titled the last post as “At First Glance” because soon after it was published, I would get handed my own words and see another side of Salvador that made my last post seem utterly premature.
As part of our training we went to a health clinic in the outskirts of the city so we could see for ourselves a piece of the Brazilian public health system. I was excited and saw it as an opportunity to see more of the city and to learn more about how things work in here, but I had no idea what I was in store for. Two other fellows and I got into the car with our professor and made our way for the lower city of Salvador. When the skyline comprised of towering apartment buildings and business centers began to open, I was aw stricken. Before us was what seemed to be a never ending sea of favelas, to me it was nearly unfathomable. I have heard so many times that the gap between the rich and the poor in Brazil is like nowhere else in the world, and I thought I had been seeing it first-hand. The city is filled with sky rise, high class, condominiums, and housing developments surrounded by brick walls and guards, nearly all shadowed by favelas. I would be hard pressed to describe it, but to step beyond the inner city and see that literally millions of people in Salvador alone live in these conditions is mind blowing.
In Brazil there is a very evident gap in the distribution of wealth, and I am coming to understand that it’s not only a problem in Brazil or specific places. The gap between the rich and the poor is a global issue and seems to only be getting bigger.