When I first arrived in Salvador, Brazil in 1991, I stayed with the relatives of friends I had made in Amsterdam. This family lived in a very poor part of Penambuas, itself a poor neighborhood at the periphery of Salvador. An open sewer ran in front of the house. This sewer, in turn, emptied out into an even larger sewer at the bottom of the hill. The toilet of my hosts did not work, but at least they had a house (largely because of money sent from Amsterdam). Their neighbor's home consisted of rubble piled to make unstable walls topped by a roof of broken boards. At the bottom of the hill, next to the larger sewer, young children, who seemed to have no parents, lived in a makeshift tent of tom blue plastic. Despite the daily scrubbing that the daughters of my hosts gave to their own house, cockroaches lived happily on the bathroom walls and in the kitchen cupboards, while rats lurked under the washing trough. The children from the blue tent begged daily at the door for food.

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