Juma

Anderson Schneider

(Brazil)

In the last days of December 2006, news that gold had been found in the Juma basin quickly spread throughout the Amazon, attracting men and women to the middle of nowhere, under the almost irresistible promise of a better life. Within a few weeks, the rumour had spread throughout the country and more than 8,000 people had amassed in the region, quickly transforming what was once a forest into a gigantic hole in the middle of the forest made of mud, disease, exploitation and dreams of easy riches.

People came from all over Brazil in what became the biggest gold rush since Serra Pelada in the 1980s. Very few became rich, some found gold, but everyone else found only the cruel, savage working conditions of mining. They discovered at the cost of their own blood, sweat and tears how dark a dream can be. The place became known as Eldorado do Juma, a land without law, without mercy and without any more gold, where after four months more than 2,000 people were still fighting to get a small portion of the metal, just enough to be able to afford the return ticket home.

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Anderson Schneider

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Anderson Schneider is a Brazilian photographer and architect based in Brasilia. A two-time prize-winner in the annual NPPA Best of Photojournalism and finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant.

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