It is ironic that a place called "Cova da Moura" which means "Moura's Hole" in portuguese be situated in one of the highest hills in the suburban area surrounding Lisbon, Portugal's capital. Cova da Moura's prime location is also one of the major threats to it's survival as a neighborhood, home to roughly 6000 emigrants or descendants of emigrants, mostly from the african isles of Cape Verde, a former portuguese colony. These emigrants built the neighborhood with bricks and mortar, up the hill, at night and on weekends when they were off of their construction jobs and the police wasn't looking, with their hands and a lot of pain. The fight today is still to escape demolition and relocation, the fate of most clandestine "shanty town" neighborhoods in Portugal. In this backdrop, Armenio, my chaperone who became my friend, guided me through the narrow alleys and through the customs of the locals. He assured drug dealers that I was ok in spite of driving the little Ford Fiesta, which is apparently undercover cops' favorite car to use as a disguise. A strange cloud of suspicion of being a cop hung over me for the one year that I visited the neighborhood and the 2 months that I lived in a rented room there. He introduced me to incredible people and places and put me in strange, many times dangerous situations, specially late at night in dark bars, his assurance of protection sounding a little doubtful given that he was constantly getting into fights often provoked by his own drunkenness. His knuckles are those of a fighter. Bumpy, scarred, hard. He is a member of a lost generation of men from the neighborhood, many of whom just like Armenio spent several years in jail for selling drugs. Like gang-less gang members. The gang was to be a cape verdean boy from an indicted neighborhood with a reputation for being crime ridden, in a country that is not his even though he was born in it , with emigrant parents that worked day and night, being left to himself for years. This brotherhood goes by a code of defiance of an order which is oppressive and in many ways still colonial. Armenio is a generous and sensitive man. But he is an angry man. He is angry because of this and his inability to escape the close nit world of a small neighborhood that has trapped him into a stereotype making him virtually unemployable but at the same time encapsulating everything that he loves from the music to the food, the customs, the familiarity and sense of belonging. He is angry for having been abandoned by his mother at age 1 and by the coldness of a strict father that used to discipline him with constant violent beatings. In a community board , Armenio wrote " Love is to give birth, to nurture, to love, and not to abandon". He used to say that I was going to be his salvation. I visited him just before I returned to live in the US. As of June 2013 that was 2 1/2 years. During this time I have only talked to him once. His phone is disconnected and he has no email address. I've tried to contact an organization in the neighborhood but received no response. I have no idea of what will happen when i see him again. He'll be angry, Im sure. Once again he's been abandoned. By the world and by me.