I'm delighted to share that I won a fellowship from Alicia Patterson Foundation – US’s oldest journalism fellowship. From Feb 1 I'll be its Cissy Patterson environment fellow for 12 months working on an exciting Amazon project that I'll tell you more about later... THREAD
I've had over 3 great years with @guardian & hope for more after this fellowship. Thanks to fantastic colleagues @tomphillipsin @jonathanwatts @dpcarrington @SamCowie84 @MartinxHodgson @bibivanderzee @itsalanevans @tracymcveigh @LizFordGuardian @wilsonjamie @PaulTOwen @tom_levitt
It's been a dramatic few years in Brazil and @guardian has sent me all over to cover everything from mining disasters and political turmoil to the fight to protect uncontacted Indigenous tribes. Re-upping some favourite stories as I won’t be writing much for @guardian in 2021.
I wrote this dispatch from Chapecó in Southern Brazil in Nov 2016 after its plucky, giant-killing soccer team Chapecoense was decimated in a plane crash. The sense of collective grief and loss as the town mourned was unforgettable.

theguardian.com/world/2016/nov…
2017 began with brutal mass killings in Brazilian prisons as rival drug gangs escalated a drug war. As cellphone videos of the gruesome violence circulated widely in Brazil, my story in Jan tried to make sense of what was happening.

theguardian.com/world/2017/jan…
In Jul 2017, Brazil was in political turmoil, its lurch to the right driven by savvy social media activists. I met some for this story and remember how angry they were and how clear it was that a win by Jair Bolsonaro threatened the environment.

theguardian.com/world/2017/jul…
In Aug 2017 a car carrying a family of British tourists was shot up by drug gang members near the beaches of Angra dos Reis. I visited the scene to report on how violence was hitting this tourist town. Crime became a key theme in elections a year later.

theguardian.com/world/2017/aug…
I joined Lula’s “caravan” through his North Eastern homeland in 2017 as he spoke to rapturous crowds. The adulation, whirlwind around him and his unexpected, bone-crunching man hug - the only time I've been embraced by a politician – stuck in my memory.

theguardian.com/world/2017/sep…
Also in 2017, widely-loathed president Michel Temer wiggled out of corruption charges to save his mandate. Brazilians were disgusted. My piece on how this boosted electoral hopes of authoritarians like Jair Bolsonaro went viral.

theguardian.com/world/2017/oct…
Just before a court confirmed Lula’s widely-discredited graft sentence in Porto Alegre where I filed this Jan 2018 story, ex-pres. Dilma Rousseff told me their Workers’ Party was involved in corruption – but less than others. Brazil: not for beginners.

theguardian.com/world/2018/jan…
I covered the outbreak of Zika and microcephaly in Recife in the North East for the Washington Post, and went back in Feb 2018. It was heart-breaking to see how tough it was for parents caring for these children and their courage was inspiring.

theguardian.com/global-develop…
In Mar 2018, after a contaminating leak from his Amazon alumina plant, executives from Norwegian gov-controlled Norsk Hydro denied responsibility for any leaks or floods in my interview for this story. Days after it ran, the company apologised.

theguardian.com/world/2018/mar…
In March 2018, the shocking, unsolved murder of Marielle Franco was widely mourned – especially in Rio’s Maré favela, where she grew up, as I reported here. Her tutor at Rio's PUC uni was among those recalling how her leadership qualities stood out.

theguardian.com/world/2018/mar…
Joining indigenous people and an official from Indigenous agency FUNAI on a 2018 expedition through dense jungle to monitor isolated tribes was physically the toughest thing I’ve ever done but amazing. Huge respect for their hunting & forest skills.

theguardian.com/global-develop…
Bolsonaro’s likely election win was welcomed by loggers, wildcat miners and land grabbers in the Amazon even before the run-off round in Oct 2018. Some of them told me why for this dispatch which also featured a shot fired and a police escort.

theguardian.com/world/2018/oct…
My Feb 2019 report on Brumadinho mining disaster that killed 270 was the first to reveal the tailings dam had leaked the previous year - which owners Vale denied. I recall traumatised employees, the anger, the stench at the disaster site.

theguardian.com/world/2019/feb…
Working amid the throng at Rio carnival is tough – but worth it to meet the “Barbie fascists”, the “Mulheres Rodadas" street party performers and a mother in a girl power tiara for this Mar 2019 piece on feminism at the world’s biggest party.

theguardian.com/world/2019/mar…
I wanted to explore what Brazil’s swing to the far right meant for Brazilians. For this May 2019 story I saw how Rio governor Wilson Witzel’s use of police helicopter marksmen and shoot-to-kill tactics left terror, blood and bullet holes in favelas.

theguardian.com/world/2019/may…
In Jul 2019 we exposed how meat giant JBS indirectly sourced cattle from an Amazon farm that had illegally deforested with @ocamargosdaniel @reporterb & @TBIJ. It sparked more investigations, parts of a UK parliament bill and promises from meat companies. theguardian.com/environment/20…
I sat close to Bolsonaro in a Jul 2019 presser and my question about failing Amazon protection & his belligerent, factually-false response went viral after pro-gov propaganda channel shared the TV clip.

Weeks later the Amazon fires crisis exploded.

theguardian.com/world/2019/jul…
My dispatch in Jan 2020 from an illegal mining camp in the Yanomami indigenous reserve, shortly after the Brazilian army destroyed it. The army has now gone. The garimpeiros (miners) are still there. And the destruction continues.

theguardian.com/environment/20…
Recently 4 people (3 I know) caught Covid in a house in Southern Brazil, but just 2 got tested and entered the stats. In April 2020 I revealed how heavily Brazil was underreporting its Covid-19 numbers and how dangerous that was.

theguardian.com/global-develop…
My April 2020 piece on how Brazil’s favelas were mobilising to feed their own as the pandemic lockdown bit was included in @RioOnWatch list of best favela reporting of the year.

theguardian.com/global-develop…
In July 2020 I broke the story of how top investment house Nordea Asset Mgt had dropped Brazilian meat giant JBS over its links to deforestation and graft and response to Covid-19.

theguardian.com/environment/20…
Finally a chance to write about Brazil’s rich musical culture with this Dec 2020 interview with singer Luedji Luna, whose beautiful new album is brimming with references to Afro-Brazilian religion, Black feminism, love, revenge and celebration.

theguardian.com/music/2020/dec…
It’s been a privilege to write over 300 stories for such a great and influential newspaper as @guardian and I loved the diversity of the challenge. Looking forward to focussing on the big story that needs to be told and hope to come back afterwards. More soon.

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