It has been amazing to have participated in the Mutirão for the past 2 1/2 years and seen all of the different phases of the Rede and the different communities that participate in the Rede de Resistência Solidaria. In the entire time we have been here, they have only repeated one neighborhood, and that community is so big it was in a completely different part.
The mutirão had a lot going on and many more people involved from outside of the graffiti scene. One group set up a pirate radio, Radio Livre, at the main area, other people brought fruit seeds and soil to plant trees with the kids in the area, and another group attempted to organize the kids to paint a wall (I have written previously about my attempt to do that in the past!). It was interesting to have all of these different activities going on, because it took the mutirão past the idea of just showing up in the community to paint to a real community action day. I will admit that in the beginning, I was very skeptical about what the Rede was really doing and about the purpose of the mutirão—it seemed like it was just an opportunity to go out and paint with your friends in a somewhat organized fashion. I was constantly questioning whether going to paint people's houses in the communities really leads towards community self-sufficiency, but over time, I have come to understand more about how the Rede works and the effect it has on the communities and on the participants. By bringing a group of people from different communities in
I really treasure all of the time I have spent going to different communities in
It is always interesting to see what will happen when you show up and last Sunday really highlighted this culture clash between brega and beer, and something different. The DJ booth and microphone area were set up on one side of the soccer field directly in front of a little stand that normally serves as the local bar on Sunday. Everyone was back there drinking and listening to brega on a car stereo throughout the day, but there came a point when a midwife group from the community was talking on the microphone and the brega kept getting louder and louder. One woman in particular pulled up her shirt, beer in hand, and started bumping and grinding in a way that was almost a challenge. It really felt like as a group they were saying, "This is OUR place, and this is what WE do on Sunday." I can see how it would almost feel like an invasion and a challenge to the people doing what they normally do. All of the sudden this giant group of people show up in your community and start playing their music and talking about what they want. Of course, the community is welcome to participate and that is a main part of the mutirão, but it is asking people to participate in a very different way. The situation was handled graciously, but I definitely felt the resentment (probably provoked by beer) by the people wanting their typical Sunday beer and brega.
Aside: One of the things I most admire about