The real City of God

The real City of God

Ricardo Andrade

It was not easy for Ricardo to give us this account of life inside the City of God.

He had to be careful that other people did not become suspicious of what he was doing. There are a number of cases of people who, having been mistakenly labelled as police informers, have been kidnapped and tortured.

Ricardo therefore ensured he restricted his reporting to areas where he was safe - and where the people around him were those he knew and trusted.

Ricardo works with young people in the favelas as part of a project, offering music, breakdancing and theatre workshops to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.

His classmate told him that she was scared of the violence around her. She said she had seen many crimes personally, and that she would leave the favela if she ever had the opportunity to do so.

He also spoke to one of the local residents whose job it was to drive around the favela in his scooter, carrying people where they wanted to go - he's called a "motoboy" or a "mototaxi".

He told Ricardo that it was a privilege for him to live in City of God and that he enjoyed the sports that go on there - like the football, the artists, musicians and MCs who live in the favela. He also complained that the government did not make life better for the community.

Despite many of the problems faced inside City of God, Ricardo himself says he is proud to live there.