Monday, September 1, 2014

Explanation of what we do!

Many people have emailed me asking information about the work we do here in Rocinha. I thought it best to write a full explanation so everybody has a better understand of our involvement in the community of Rocinha.

I am going to explain the 4 parts of FAVELA ADVENTURES. We are not just a tourism company. The idea is to use tourism here as a way to benefit the people here. The more people we can involve with out work, the better for everybody. Its obvious that we can not help everybody but if everyone does a little to help out, then great for everyone.

1.) Tours of our community- This is the base of how everything else operates. Without the tours, the other 3 parts would not exist. The tours of Rocinha are the only income from our work. Our visits are walking through the community explaining how life operates here. How are we different many ask. All our guides reside in Rocinha and part of our projects or other projects inside the favela. Our tours are longer than most starting with 4 hour visits. We feel that the only way you can really understand a place is to be here for a while. Our tours are supported by the community because of the other volunteer work we do here.

2.) Dj School Spin Rocinha- Started in August of 2011 is our social project. We teach residents from 16-58 years old who reside in Rocinha. Currently we have about 16 sudents and operate the classes 6 days a week, from 7-10pm Monday-Saturday. We have a professional studio with the top of the line DJ equipment. For those wanting a career in DJ'ing we can refer them for jobs when they are ready.
Spin Rocinha is a comprehensive program and students are provided instruction in the art of Dj'ing for free!
We welcome Dj's from all over the world to come and visit our school to see or to give a workshop. Check out some of our previous posts of visitors we have had here to our school. We are developing the next generation of Dj's!

3.) Volunteers- We also receive many inquiries from foreigners wanting to help the favela by offering to volunteer. We are not a business for this. We can refer you to several different projects who have told us that they are open to volunteers. Basic spoken portugues certainly helps the experience for the visitor. If you are interested in helping out here please send us some information about yourself, why you want to volunteer and what projects you have interest in. we are connected to about 15 different projects, anything from Sports, Art or Music related activities. It helps if you have a Facebook page because we can then refer you to the page of the project that you are interested in. You can look over their page and see if the project interests you. We do not believe volunteers should need to pay for volunteering so please do your research on this. We give you the referal to the project and you do the rest. The projects that we work with do not expect foreigners to pay money to volunteer. What I do recomend though is if you are going to volunteer at an art school, that you bring some art materials as a "donation" to the project. this way the materials directly are beneficial to the project. We do not recommend giving money to any projects as this sets up the project expecting or only depending on outside help.

4.) Donations- This is a fairly new project that we have started. About 2 years ago I was receiving emails from visitors asking how they could help out with donations. When I first started doing the tours in 2008, I would give art supplies to Tio Lino's Art School here in Rocinha. Once I started the Dj School, my focus changed on directing our money to be spent on Dj equipment which is very expensive. As this was happening for us, I noticed that Tio Lino was getting help with sponsorship and even had a building built for his art school. So our money focused on building our Dj School. But still people would ask about donating things. So, I had this idea of finding projects inside the favela that really needed help and who were not receiving anything from anybody. Without letting too many know of my idea, I would find projects that needed helpand then began to focus donations to be for specific projects. For example we help a Art Project called Espaco das Artes by giving them specifically art supplies and any materials they request that they need for their art projects. Many of the donations come from the help individuals who find out about Pack for a Purpose, a non profit that encourages travellers to bring donations to projects in developing countries. We have had huge sucess and with that we can help so many more projects in need.

These are the 4 parts to what we do here. This is why our website url is ".org".  We want tourism to benefit and help as many people in our comunity!  Thank you to all of the tourists that have visited with us over the last 7 years. We are slowly building to our objective to by a building here to house art and music projects.
But for now, the work we are doing is very rewarding! Always thankful!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Seeking Vinyl Records

As most of you know who visit my blog, we have a Dj School here called Spin Rocinha. Our next project is going to be finding vinyl records for our students.

We here believe that as a Dj learning to spin vinyl is showing respect for the origins of the art of Dj'ing. Our school has all the digital equipment and respects the advances in technology made available for the following generations of Dj's. I learned to Dj on vinyl as did Dembore, so its only natural that our school have vinyl. Our school will continue on with pendrives, CDJ's and controllers but its nice to have different media forms to experiment and learn.

When I started the Dj school, I knew it would be a challenge. You see in most parts of Brazil, Vinyl records are hard to find and are very expensive. At this time we do not have turntables because we dont have vinyl records. After talking to the students, there is now interest to learn to spin vinyl.

So I created this idea on how YOU can help us! For those who plan to take a tour with us we will give you a discount on your visit if each person brings one vinyl record. The type of music we would like is the types you would hear in a dance club. So, techno, trance, disco, electronic and anykind of house music will be perfect. Many of our past students are now playing in clubs so dance music is what is popular here.

I have committed to the students that once we get some vinyl records, then we can then by the 2 turntables so we can play these records. So, How about it? Can you help us build a small vinyl library?

Thank you!!!!

If you need any information, please contact us at:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Recycling Education through art with Espaco das artes Rogerio Roque

I wanted to distribute more of the art supplies and Espaco das Artes coordinator Rogerio Roque had a childrens art project going on in the Valao, which is one of the poorer areas. He set up around 10:30  and I arrived around 12 noon. I was able to put supplies into two back packs and carry them down to the Valao.

I made a promise to Debbie and Tom Bannister that I would not only distribute their supplies but also Debbie's hand made necklaces. I brought about 40 necklaces as I was not sure how many kids would show up. The majority of the kids were between 8-13 years old. THANK YOU DEBBIE & TOM!!!!!!

They say on a blue tarp the Rogerio rolled out right into the street. no shoes were allowed on the tarp
and the kids were given sheets of paper with images that they would color in with markers, crayons or colored pencils. All supplies that were brought by Pack for a Purpose visitors to our favela.

I spread out the necklaces and had the children choose which one they wanted and then I put it around their neck. There were two parents who also wanted one so I gave them too. I gave out all of them. There are still more but I will save them for the next event in a different location so Debbie's necklaces can be seen all over Rocinha. After the children learned about where to put each recyclable in proper place, Rogerio gave everybody chalk and we drew on the street. Even Rogerio and I got to making our "I (heart) Rocinha" designs with the chalk. Here are some fotos from today!



THANK YOU to everybody who has taken part in Pack for a Purpose. To find out more, check out their website!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Some Scots, a Frenchman and some Singaporeans come to play football!


I love these tours where real interaction and enjoyment makes everybody's day. Its so awesome to see our favela to meet foreigners who want to play football, enjoy a bbq and visit the community. Some our guests did not leave the favela until around 7:30pm as they wanted to visit our dj school SPIN ROCINHA and wanted to hang out at one of our local drinking spots..All this during the fever surrounding the World Cup. Above are some fotos from the event! Thanks to Chen Siyuan for some of the fotos.

Gavin Berry was the Scotsman who set this special tour up and also described in his own words, their experience in Rocinha.

Here is his story as written in the "Daily Record and Sunday Mail" one of the UK's biggest newspapers.

GAV wanted to see the real Rio so he paid a visit to the city's biggest favela, Rocinha, and along with his companions they found a warm welcome on the pitch.

Scots Beer Bellies 8 Young Brazilian Peles 24

ENGLAND can relax a bit – there is now a team which has performed even worse than they did at the World Cup.

We were oozing Caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail, from watching their national team the night before while our showboating Samba hosts were simply oozing class.

It was the morning after the night before watching Brazil in action at the Copacabana fan zone and 15 of us stupidly agreed to take on a local side as part of a favela tour.

In hindsight, there was only ever going to be one outcome but what a phenomenal experience (the tour, not the game itself) in what was as big a mismatch as you’re ever likely to witness. We had taken in the must-see tourist attractions in the first few days: a game at the Maracana; Copacabana and Ipanema beaches; the Christ the Redeemer statue and all the great things Rio de Janeiro has to offer.

But we wanted a glimpse of the real Rio. Hearing so many stories of the city’s favelas – shanty towns built high into the mountains – had us questioning whether it was the right thing to do.

So many documentaries, including Ross Kemp on Gangs, had shown these slum communities as complete no-go areas and particularly for outsiders in what are seen as
crime-ridden areas where drug traffickers rule.

Even as our tour guide started talking he was interrupted by a huge bang. We all paused and looked at each other, having heard so many horror stories. But even he laughed as he promised us it was only a firework.

The only shots fired on this occasion were those that rained in on our goal by our slick Samba opponents as they put us to the sword in a humiliating lesson on how the beautiful game should be played.

Never have so many people volunteered to go between the sticks as on this occasion with many fearing they wouldn’t last the pace following a climb to the top of Rocinha – Rio’s largest favela and home to 300,000 people – in the searing heat.

In fact, we now reckon that was a deliberate ploy by our tour guides on behalf of our opponents to tire us out or even pick up an injury as we turned up for a 1pm kick-off – the hottest time of the day – already sweating and out of breath.

It was worth it for the incredible views at the summit, even if it wasn’t the ideal pre-match preparation. We were promised it would be a relaxed affair yet the opposite was true. We arrived to find the locals huddled around their coach receiving tactical information before they went back to the dressing room and emerged in full Brazil team colours of yellow tops and blue shorts.

The sight of that famous kit is enough to send shivers down the spine of any opposition and we were already shaking for very different reasons with some already indulging in a few of the local Brahma beers to cure their hangovers.

Yours truly won the battle to go in goal at the concrete indoor stadium but that was a big mistake. Having shipped three goals inside five minutes, it was the end of my involvement for the day.
To be fair, we were up against their A team in the early part before changing both sides every 20 minutes. As the hosts’ standard dropped, we had a bit more joy.

And for all the teenage Samba stars on show, it was a wee guy from Castlemilk who got the biggest cheer when he nutmegged an opponent. Take a bow, David Thomson, even if the applause from the locals was more out of pity by that stage.

If the myth that favelas are dangerous places was erased from our minds, this performance did nothing to alter the fact the Brazilians are more gifted than us with a ball at their feet. One consolation is that a Frenchman and two Singaporeans were also in our ranks after joining our group so they can at least share some of the blame for our 24-8 Samba slaughtering. After having us on toast for 90 minutes, our hosts then treated us to a barbecue and the one thing we are better than them at – drinking beer – to round off the football part of the tour.

Having exchanged strips and laughed at the sight of young Brazilians in Rangers, Celtic and Scotland tops while sporting See You Jimmy hats, it was back to the serious part of the tour.

Our head guide, Zezinho, met us first thing in the morning and his aim is to ensure the experience is as authentic as possible. That is why he insisted on taking public transport with the 539 bus from the Copacabana taking us high into the hilltop slum.

Covered from top to toe in self-designed tattoos of his beloved favela, he could be an intimidating sight but, just like the community he loves, there is much more to him than meets the eye. He spoke with passion about the people and of the misconception of favelas. As we wandered the narrow streets, there was never any sense of danger, only warmth and genuine appreciation from the locals.

There is a sense of togetherness and neighbours looking out for each other. Everywhere you go people acknowledging each other as they go about their daily business. And favelas have become more popular places to stay due to soaring accommodation prices during the World Cup.

We were shown Rocinha’s only hotel where rates were just £30 a night and the view was as good as you’re likely to get over Rio.

The England team made headlines for paying a visit to the favela but the Three Lions squad ventured only as far as the sports complex at the foot of Rocinha.

As one of our guides said: “Had they gone beyond that, they would have found a city within a city.”
Thankfully, we did

Read article here:

For more information on football or any other type of tours contact Zezinho at:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

World Cup craziness

Wow! All I can say is this after the past month..So much news..good news. The Pack For a Purpose website has really brought so many generous people to help our favela. But before I get to all the wonderful donations, I want to talk about other things.

The World Cup here in Brasil was a mixed emotions event. The WC is basically a event run by FIFA and that means money. People in the favelas don't have access to going to games as the prices are just too much for people here to afford.

We made a tour here for 3 Americans who enjoyed their time here. I got an email from John Perdoch saying that him and his friends were leaving Rio to go to Sao Paulo. He had 3 WC tickets that he couldn't use and wanted to give them to us. I was shocked because the tickets were for 175 dollars which is about 450 reais each ticket, about half the monthly salary of a person here in the favela. I ended up giving the tickets to people who have worked with us and live in the favela. I want to thank John Perdoch and his friends for this awesome opportunity!



There are so many people who visited us over the World Cup that gave donations as well.
Cindy Matias who operates a website called Bag Tag Studio in Australia, brought school supplies. Andy Benbow kept with the theme of the World Cup and brought football pins that I gave out to kids playing football. Mina Mata thank you for your bag of donations. Debbie Bannister we will ensure all that you brought will be passed on to the respective destinations. The health supplies we are going to talk to a daycare and see if they can use some of them and the clinic can use the stethoscopes etc..

Janet Webb brought paintbrushes which are really a need for an Art School Espaco das Artes run by Rogerio Roque who not only handles the art school for children but also teaches about preserving the environment. Please check out his facebook page is he is one of our main recipients of donations.
Here's is Rogerio picking up bags of art supplies for his project. After he got to the art school he took a photo of what his school received.

Beth Keinman donated 40 reais which we put to the purchase of footballs for kids in the favela. We had for guests who also contributed to the purchase of footballs. Jody one of our helpers bought 18 balls and I followed up by buying 5 more. I bought this huge barrel to put all the balls in. Thank you Nicole Layt, Maddie Short, Rory Keenan and Alan Eadie for your contribution of 150 reais. When we do tours where guests want to play football, we bring a ball along and after playing with the kids, we give them the ball. There are many kids here who don't have football to play with, so these balls will be making a lot of kids happy.

Another person who impressed me with their energy and kindness was Nate Lewis. He came to do a tour with his 2 huge suitcases in hand because they had no where else to bring them. Jody, one of our helpers was able to store Nate's bags in his house so they could complete the tour. Nate brought many donations of school supplies for the projects we support here. Here is a photo of Nate enjoying posing with the kids he was playing football with. Nate please come back and stay here and we will find you a football team where you can join.


I had a woman contact me from a day care here in the favela requesting items for the children. Her name is Leidy Martins and she works at daycare called Creche Municipal Castelinho. This was great
because I have received so many donations of different kinds so I found items that are good for this  little daycare school. Most of what I gave were school supplies, calculators, pens, colored pencils, erasers and sharpeners.  She came by with her daughter to pick up two bags from our dj school during a class. See the photos below and please check out their facebook page Creche Municipal Castelinho.

This has been difficult for me because on July 11th, I caught a serious flu/cold and just today I am starting to get over it. Please be patient as through some time I will make sure all the donations are being distributed to the projects we support. When I receive donations, I first separate them into 3 sections. One for school supplies, one for games, toys or puzzles and the other for art supplies. I then contact the various projects and have one of the representative of the project comes by and picks up the donations which are already set for them. There are several projects we donate to. Just to name some Escola Moranguinhos, Fabrica Verde, Espaco das Artes and now the Creche Municipal Castelinho.

The important thing I need to say is the projects who receive these donations do not receive outside help from anyone. It has always been my objective to find the most needy projects and then give to them. There are over 60 NGO's in Rocinha and many receive help, but many also don't receive anything. So, I want to find those projects who are in need. I am always keeping my eyes open for others that need this help. If you know of a project that is in need, contact me. If you were an individual who donated and I did not include your name, my apologies! Your donation(s) will be distributed to one of our projects. To ALL of you a huge THANK YOU!!!!!