Rio De Janeiro, Brazil: Post 5 - Handmade in the Heartland

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil: Post 5

Day 8: Monday, November 22nd
When we woke up on Monday we again called the hanggliding people to see if we could fly but the weather was not right again so we decided to call and see if we could go on a favela tour. The favela tour was the most educational experience we had in Brazil and i would recommend it for anyone. We were with a guide who took us to Rochina, which is Rio's largest Favela - which means neighboorhood in portugese- and one of the most poverty stricken areas of the city. The favela's are especially interesting because they are not recognized by the city, which means the trash isn't picked up enough, the sewage isn't proper, the electricity isn't metered and the streets don't even have names which in turn leaves all the rsidents without an address and unable to properly receive any mail.

This is our first stop in RochinaIn this photo if you look to the bottom right you can see piles of trash which collect because of the lack the trash dept's efforts to clear it away. It's also an amazing view from the favelas because they are in the mountains. One thing that is drastically different in Brazil is that the rich people instead of going into the mountains like in the U.S, they congregate in the cities and the poor live in the mountains.
On our second stop in Rochina the tour took us to this building's balcony where we got an amazing view of the favela.

Because the electricity is not metered correctly whenever there is an issue instead of fixing the problem-which is impossible because of the photo below, they just connect more and more wires. Biggest Mess Ever

Our second favela on the tour was a small favela in which the government had interceded and fixed things like garbage collection, started metering their electricity and put into place a proper sewage system. Life in this favela was increasingly better, and it just shows that when the city's government puts it's mind to it they can fix problems. This city also had street names and every resident had an address. Hopefully with the Olympics coming to Rio in 2016 the city will help the larger favela's.

After getting home we decided to rent City of God, which is a movie about the favelas in Rio. I wouldn't reccomend it for a pleasant movie experience (it's quite violent) but it was interesting waching it after having been to Rio, and especially on this tour. One thing that is depicted in the movie and that our tour guide relayed as well is that the favela's are run by the head honchos in the drug trade, but because they don't want the police to interfere in their area they make sure that crime is obsolete, other than of course their sales of drugs. So robbery and other petty crimes almost never happen in the favela because the residents know they drug lords will have their hides if they find out. It's all very interesting...

And we still have 2 more days to go so stay tuned!!

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