City a social statement of contradictions

ROY OUTSIDE CASA PUBLICA HOUSE

ROY OUTSIDE CASA PUBLICA HOUSE

 

By Roy Gachuhi, Content House Senior Writer

 

Roy divulges his reasons for being in Rio

 

I am here in the Olympic City but I didn’t come to cover the Olympic Games.

 

Wistfully, I feel a part of me turning the clock back and returning to the glorious hustle of my reporting days, the days of the daily adrenaline rush.

 

From that little corner comes the longing to do combat with the nemesis that I did not have then, Twitter and Facebook, while roaming the stadium stands and ringsides.

 

But I can’t. I will pay only ephemeral attention to the competition. I came here to do the story that is not obvious from the screen, the one that needs to be pried from the vault and then only to annoy the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro. Mine is still old school journalism: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

 

INSIDE THE CASA PUBLICA

INSIDE THE CASA PUBLICA HOUSE

My hosts, Casa Publica, invited me here along with five other journalists from Ecuador, Chile, France and Italy to research and tell this story.

 

They wanted foreigners, not Brazilians, to do it. That is what I am researching on and that is what I am writing about – and on the side, this notebook.

 

The road to the shiny facilities hosting the Games has been paved with inestimable human misery characterized by the most brutal transfers of human population.

 

AT WORK INSIDE CASA PUBLICA

AT WORK INSIDE CASA PUBLICA

 

MAKE RIO CLEAN

 

They wanted to make Rio clean to showcase Brazil’s emerging status as a global economic power.

 

To do that, violence was visited upon those who, by the misfortune of being born and raised in the margins of society – and usually because of the colour of their skins – lived in unsightly neighbourhoods.

 

Nobody knows how to make a party like Brazilians and this the world will see in the coming days and weeks.

 

They are a class apart when the carnival, with its ceaseless samba, gets going. I suspect the opening and closing ceremonies will show human exuberance like no Olympic audience has seen since Pierre de Coubertin restored the Olympic Games to the world in 1896.

 

LUIZ ROCHA, ROY'S FIXER, STANDS NEXT TO GRAFFITI WHICH ASKS "OLYMPICS FOR WHOM?" (OLIMPIADA PI QUEM?)

LUIZ ROCHA, ROY’S FIXER, STANDS NEXT TO GRAFFITI WHICH ASKS “OLYMPICS FOR WHOM?” (OLIMPIADA PI QUEM?)

 

 

But some people living just a few kilometres away from the Games venues are too poor to know, or care, that there is an Olympics going on.

 

They just want a piece of bread to eat. And yet they are the ones that brought me here. I leave that to Christ the Redeemer, who is overlooking me in the near distance, to make me understand.