The day I went to a Favela in Rio de Janeiro.

As I said before, I just went to Brazil and I loved absolutely everything about it; the food, the people, the beaches, everything. I had a pretty good luck and won the airplane tickets to South America, we choose Brazil and my parents came along. The sensation of traveling with your parents as when you travel by yourself or with friends is completely different but I am glad they came. My parents taught us to travel and they had always trust us and the world that we will be safe. When we went to Europe they left us (my sister and me) wandering alone and I was just 14. They always gave us the independence we needed, so traveling with them is a good thing. Anyway, so this year it was the turn of Brazil, and one of the things I enjoyed more while I was there was going to a Favela.

In case you don’t know what a Favela is, well, it is a SLUM. I recommend you to watch the movie “CIty of God ” to have a more visual idea of it and the world that surrounded them. Many cities have slums, I actually went to a really big one in Nairobi, I walked in the muddy little alleys, I smiled to the people there and they smiled back at me. The locals told me that it was dangerous to go there but I never felt any harm.

Slum en NairobiSlum in Nairobi ⬆

So, in Rio de Janeiro there are many of this places, and in fact, they are famous. If you go to Rio you have to go to a Favela. It is one of the attractions, and , as they can be a little dangerous, some persons do not recommend to go by yourself, that is why there are many touristic tours that take you there. We went to the Favela Dona Martha just with our Brazilian friend Anelise that came with us.

To get to the top of the Favela there is a cableway that takes you there but this wasn’t working when we went so we had to use our feet. And I think that is the day I felt the fulminant hot in Brazil and I sweated the most. We had to climb stairs and more stairs to get there, it was like the stairs of Cirith Ungol in “The lord of the rings”… well not like that but it felt like that with the feeling of a thousand suns burning at your back. It doesn’t matter how good your fitness is, you will got tired. While we were going up those unpainted alleys, I saw a string of sunbeam filtering between some walls and created a beautiful light that bounced off a little girl with dark brown skin. I wanted to take a picture but I couldn’t, at that point my mother decided to stop and stayed there while we continued. There were kids playing so it seem harmless. Now, the sweat was going every inch on my body. It is one of those times where you think “Oh, I think I have never sweat this much” and you start to remember other times where you felt that much hot and sweating but you cannot visualize it because at that moment you are thinking “Crap, I think this is it, the time that I have sweat the most”, I am saying this so you can understand how hot it was. It was inhuman hot and I just saw more and more stairs.

Camino hacia la cima de Dona Martha⬆The way to the top of the Favela Dona Martha⬆

We passed by people that lived at the favela, and they stared at us. I, sometimes, when I could articulate a word, I said “Bom dia” and they answered me back. We stopped in a little souvenir shop (that was clearly a little room of a house) and a lady called us and turned on her plasma TV so we could watched the Michael Jacskon video “They don’t care about us” that was filmed in that Favela. We watched it and she pointed at us the part where she appeared in the video when she was a kid. She told us how she lived that moment and we ended up buying some souvenirs at her little shop. When we went out we had rest a little so we kept on going until we reach the statue of Michael. There the view of Rio is stunning. We were there for a while with Rio in front of us and the sun above us, we even met a brazilian guy who had work in the southeast of Mexico and had been to Villahermosa.

Michael Jackson en Rio

Rio visto desde la favela Dona Martha

Rio visto desde la favela Dona Martha

We met our mother again and she said goodbye to the kids, after it she asked for a photo so I took some as well. I talked with one of the girls that came right next to me pointing my converse shoes and said that she had two shoes like mine. I asked her name;

“Daniela” she said.

I couldn’t help smiling.

“My name is also Daniela”. I said.

And that is how in a terrible portuñol I became friend of a little girl that had my name and two shoes like mine.

Familia de Dona Martha (Mikaela, Daniela, Ana María y David).

We kept on going down and an old man said to me “Bom dia” and after that he said something I couldn’t understand. A women that was next to me laughed and I asked about it. She said that the old man said that she wanted to marry a “gringa” like me. In Brazil they called the foreigners “Gringos” (Not just to the people from USA, as we do in Mexico).

When we arrived to the beginning of Dona Martha we bought a coconut water (something essential in Rio) and we kept on walking with Dona Martha behind.

Dona Martha


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