I stumbled across a fascinating anecdote in a book a few months ago about a gringa in Rio, and put it on my growing to do list of things to research. But someone at Globo must have come across the same story, because a twenty-minute interview was released this weekend with the very same person.
According to Eduardo Galeano, Peggy Dulany Rockefeller went to live in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1960s, moving in with a family in Jacarezinho, a favela in Zona Norte. As a recent high school graduate, she worked with local organizations in Rio favelas. At one point, Peggy's father came to visit and allegedly left a check for the host family, giving the family a boost akin to a winning lottery ticket. But there's not much information about why Peggy went or what kind of work she did there.
So between the interview below and a bit of research, I discovered that Peggy's time in Rio was essentially a defining moment for the rest of her life. She didn't use her father's name while in Rio, and worked with a group of sociologists, anthropologists, volunteers and community members in social development. She cites her experiences there as the inspiration for her career in social development and philanthropy. After living in Rio, she went to get her BA and doctorate at Harvard, and founded the Synergos Institute in 1986, an organization which aims to "facilitate relationships between grassroots leaders and political or business leaders, people who otherwise would not have access to each other, so that they can develop long-term relationships and forge new paths in overcoming poverty." She has also worked with the UN and the Ford Foundation on health care and family planning in Brazil and the US.
In the interview below, Peggy (or as she's now called, Dr. Dulany), discusses her love of Brazilian culture, the warmth and welcoming nature of the people she encountered, a bit about her time in Rio, her experience with social development, and her work with Synergos -- all in Portuguese, with a carioca accent. The Globo video production is not the best, but it's a very interesting interview worth watching.