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Story Publication logo April 13, 2021

Quilombola Communities Vaccinated in Mato Cavalo (Portuguese)


View of the facade of the Municipal Hospital of Bandeirantes, Hospital João Carneiro de Mendonça, in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Image by Dasayev Diogo/Shutterstock. Brazil, 2020.

Mato Grosso has experienced mortality rates above the national average and an underdeveloped...

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Residents of Mata Cavalo during immunization in the sports gymnasium of the Tereza Conceição de Arruda State School, in Nossa Senhora do Livramento. Image by Ahmad Jarrah. Brazil, April 2021.

The story excerpt and photo captions below were translated from Portuguese. Continue reading the story in Portuguese at the A Lente website. You may also view the Portuguese story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Bright eyes, smile and vaccination card in hand. This is how Alídio José da Silva, Seo Lídio, 70 years old, received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, on April 7th. The immunization was the fruit of a long struggle from the quilombola associations from Mato Grosso and across Brazil.

A large part of the traditional population of the Pantanal is formed by African descendants. They were brought two hundred years ago to the interior of Brazil to be slaves in the sugar cane plantations and gold mines. Seo Lídeo lives in Mata Cavalo, one of the 28 communities, with more than 40 thousand African descendants, in the Upper Pantanal — a watershed between the Paraguay and Guaporé river basins. The quilombola region holds remnants of two important biomes in Brazil, the Pantanal and the Amazon.