Rocinha is Rio De Janeiro’s largest favela, with 70,000 people living on a steep hillside with little food, water and electricity. ‘Favela’ is another name for a Slum, the lowest class in the social hierarchy. Aside from the stories of drugs, gunfights and political battles- these people are some of the kindest and caring I have ever met.
The favela tour opened my eyes to the daily lives of these beautiful people. Unsanitary conditions, no plumbing, little electricity and families of six living in one small room. All I could think was- How are they so content? After revelling in their way of life, I started to realise that I should create happiness in my own life as they have in theirs. These are The Life Lessons from the Favelas of Rio:
#1 They don’t need Television’s, IPhone’s, Laptop’s… they have each other
Brazilian’s are fun, energetic and active people, so why not act like a Brazilian! Get out there with your friends and do something that keeps things interesting like hiking, dance classes or start a band! Take a break from that technology and spend time with those around you. You may learn something new about them after all these years!
#2 You don’t need to get paid for helping others
The Rocinha Kindergarten lays perched on the Cliffside among the chaos of the Favela. Inside this quaint little building lies passionate and dedicated woman who raise these gorgeous kids. The children are nurtured, educated and fed- all through donations and volunteered time. It made me think about all those times I spent the weekend being selfish- could I have spent my time helping somebody else?
#3 Express Yourself
Be artistic- write, paint, blog, sing- do what makes you happy! Expressing your creative side could see you begin a new career path or connect to people with similar talents.
This stunning art was created by a 13 year old girl living in Rocinha!
#4 Appreciate the little things
These people have nothing materialistic, no expensive bags or shoes.. they appreciate the real beauty of the world- like the view of Rio they are perfectly perched above, or how colour can make even the dullest day brighter. Take a step back from your possessions and look around you- we are all lucky and need to appreciate where we live.
#5 Share your wealth
If you are reading this- you are wealthy enough to afford a laptop, iPhone, Samsung- something that connects you to the world wide web. Have you ever wondered what a dollar would be worth to those who have never even SEEN a phone before? When I purchased the artwork shown above- I paid $100 Australian dollars- equivalent to 6 month salary in the Favela. To me, this was nothing- to this family- everything. Why not invest into something wonderful in a society less fortunate than your own? Think about it next time you say NO to a five dollar T-shirt in Bali. What would that $5 mean to their family?