Rocinha favella ... a city within a city

Trip Start Dec 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 14, 2011

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Flag of Brazil  , Rio de Janeiro,
Friday, December 10, 2010

Second and last day in Rio and I had 3 more ticks to achieve.

Tick 1 = See Corcovado or known as Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)

Tick 2 = Go on a Favella Tour (Rocinha)

Tick 3 = Take a swim in Copacabana Beach

Rocinha has 300,000 people living in what is a city within a city. Three banks, radio stations, nightclubs, small markets.

Luiza was my private guide - tour party of just me. First stop was a handicraft store where most items were made out of recycled bits and pieces. Tin cans became religious shrines; can tabs were croquet and made into dresses; large plastic bottles became bases for seats; paper, magazines, yellow pages etc rolled up, glued and turned into hats and containers.

We then walked through the narrow alleyways upwards half way towards the top.

At times she said 'no photos' as we past through areas where guys and gangs were doubt undertaking drugs.

So much to take in and it was an insight into how many people choose to live here with no taxes.

She explained to me many things about life in the favella:

- Water piped into roof top holding tanks but often no supply.

- Household rubbish is dumped in open pits by the roads, people recycled what they can and then 3 times a week the rest is removed.

- No police are currently inside the favella.

- Health care is non existence though several doctors practice but for a charge. The government built this 2 story building but did not provide any staff or equipment. Who health care professionals will want to work in a favella?

- School are provided till age 11 but after that … unemployment high.

- The electrical, cable TV system amazes me how it works = a mass of wires.

- Postal system is where your mail is left out in the open box for you or anyone to collect. Trust! No street address but drop off points.

- Living so close to your neighbours, all arguments are heard by them but so is care and support is close by in times of need.

Having been into the townships of Swakopmund, Namibia and Cape town, South Africa, this was different. To see the ‘rich’ living across the road from the poor is striking. The beach side Sheraton hotel was only a couple of hundred of metres away. Even in Copacabana there is a favella near at the end of the road from the hotel. Perhaps these people are poor in monetary sense but in other ways not.

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