Hanging in the Favelas

Belo Horizonte Travel Blog

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favelous

One of the most essential and interesting part of my jobs was hopping into the favelas to implement technologies to help the poor.  The main thing we did was seeing the economic impact of our program, and then making sure people were correctly implementing the technologies.  Favelas are unincorporated towns, usually slums.  *Warning*  Never ever enter a favela unescorted.  If you want to buy drugs, ask your pool boy. 

 

I've had many interesting encounters in the favelas, and here are my favourite. 

1.  Drunk patrol on a friday afternoon:  One day we were running behind on the week and had to go to the favelas on friday afternoon.  It proved to be quite the experience.

Me and Lucy's family.
  We were making our rounds and a gang of toughs approach us.  I'm like oh shit, so they ask the guide who the hell is this gringo, they explain that I'm stevo, son of rudy guilliani (an on going joke with them, cause I'm itilian american from new york), and they were quite flattered.  So flattered that they insisted I take a drink with them.  The drink of choice.... gasahol of course. 

Gasahol:  Gasoline derived from sugarcane pressings by fermenting it into ethyl-alcohol and then distilling it until its 95 % alcohol, in the USA a movement is  to do it from corn, but thats stupid. 

So the scene is me, sally, lucy (our guide) and paulo (ooooogling the ladies no doubt) and a bottle of gasahol, waiting for a swig.  I had no choice, took a swill, they were delighted, and busted out the cervaza skol, which is sort of a corona-esque brew (for us gringos).  Sally, lucy and paulo left, and its me, and some thugs, drinking the night away, talking about ladies in a odd miss match of broken portugese, and english learned from hip hop videos. 

One thing I learned from this experience was that favelas are not all slum.  In fact brazil has a very complex, and beaurucratic method for housing, the result:  Slums with a mansion inbeded in them.  Very intruiging indeed.   

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favelous
favelous
Me and Lucys family.
Me and Lucy's family.
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photo by: osgoodst