At the International Documentary Film Festival held by Erasmus Huis – Jakarta, Myra and I encountered a documentary movie that reminded us to the story of Pepe.

Bus 174 is a 150 minutes documentary that tells the story of the day when Sandro Rosa do Nascimento held hostage the Rio de Janeiro’s bus passengers in June 2000. He was 22 at the time and had lived almost all his life on the street. Sandro ran away from home to avoid anything that reminded him to the incident of her mother death. He started living on the street and became the outcast of the city.

Sandro found his sanctuary in the terrace of Candelaria Church and was unfortunate to witness the Candelaria Massacre, when a bunch of police officer shot homeless children on the night of July 1993. This incident ignited a silent rage in him.

“Many nameless children with mysterious stories came to this dark corner. After a while, some would leave where destiny took them next. A few suffered tragic ends.”- (Pepe and The Flying Balloon)

There was one scene in the movie that really struck me. It captured how people’s eyes were avoiding the presence of the children on the street whenever they approached. The scene looked familiar to me, I had avoided those eyes too.

It is impossible for me to fully comprehend the layered situation of the lives of the children on the street. However, this movie reminded me why the Pepe Doll Project is personally important for me. The project had only helped a small portion of the issue and still have a long way to go. But that small portion had done a huge favor in my life. It helped me to start filling the gap in the society, one deed at a time. – Rassi Narika.

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