The roof graphic that accompanied Terri's announcement of the shelter theme reminded me of a tent. For me, camping has mostly happy associations with the great outdoors but I was mindful that for many people, tents are a necessity as they flee their homes due to war, famine and natural disasters. When I searched online for images of refugee camps for inspiration, I also found photos of shantytowns and suddenly I was back in sixth form geography class studying South America...
Source: Wikimedia Commons
My home, my shelter, overlooks the beach of Copacabana. By contrast, the hills above the "other" Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro are densely crowded with irregular, improvisational shantytown structures known as "favela" providing shelter to a more than a quarter of Rio's citizens.
Favelas have their origins in the 19th century. When soldiers returned to Rio after quelling an insurrection, the government had yet to build housing it had promised in exchange for their services. In protest, the soldiers camped out on Rio's hills and nicknamed it “ favela ” after the favela plants that they encountered on their military campaign. Other favelas were formed by fugitive and freed slaves left with no place to live. With successive waves of rural people seeking work in the city and urban poor displaced from flood-prone areas, favelas have blossomed into self-made, strong and vibrant communities. Notes from the Hillside: The Funk and Favelas in Rio de Janeiro by Greg Scruggs offers fascinating insights into these communities as does this Washington Post article by Sean Green.