Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Favela Tour

With only the slightest sense of hypocrisy we paid someone to go on a tour to look at poverty in one of the largest favelas surounding Rio. In many ways it wasn´t quite what i had expected, though my only point of reference being GCSE geography. As one of the other blokes there mentioned you have almost been taught to think that the houses will be of the tin roof and pallet wall variety and while none of the homes are particularly spacious they are all solidly built and most have running water and electricty (though not alot of it paid for, as illustrated).

Occationally you would glace through the window of a house and some times, contrasting the bare floors and the paint peeling from the walls would be a PC in one corner or a TV better than the one that I had at home. We must have passed 2 or 3 internet cafes.

The streets are tiny and everyone is crammed in one on top of the other though everyone seems to have their own, if cramped, space. On the down side the sewers are still open and houses at the bottom of the hill are cheaper than those at the top as this is where is all flows (yes, the do have estate agents for these places)

It is probably in indication of the way my mind works but I felt safer and more at home there than most of the rest Rio. It is still really poor, some of the conditions rough and generally dirty but there does seem to be a nice sense of community. If it wasn´t that the reason it felt so safe to be was that the drug dealers are protecting their turf (too much crime, who´ll buy your drugs?) I would almost recommend it as somewhere to live.

Flying kites over the roof tops


  1. In contrast to the rather rosey picture I painted above one of the people we met in the hostel did have a gun pointed at his head when he went in to the favela. However if he will take his white essex ass in there waving money asking for cheap coke then what do you expect? As one of the chaps also pointed out the tours are a good little earner and it pays to keep the tourist route clear and safe. I wouldn´t even know how to get a true picture of the place.

  2. Wow. Thats uber essex - there you go! I keep thinking that we export people from Blighty with a love of finding out the truth of how the world lives on the other side and constantly find myself surprised at the stupid, abnoxious and idiotic behaviour I hear people practice there. Atleast now they have started to leave the union jack swimming trunks behind!

  3. To be fair to the bloke he managed to walk away without being shot and with the coke. I don´t know if there is a moral there or not....

  4. blagging skills or running shoes (or both) come handy? :-) Still I can only picture the bloke to be a bit of a chav to be honest. Ofcourse, it probably isn't accurate.

  5. Erm, I think I'll rack this place up as a potential.

  6. I live in Rocinha and have no problem to be there. It is poor but you right, there is comunity here and people do care about each other. Read about what I am doing in Rocinha to empower people in the favela!