Our team is coming a long great. We are preparing for the busy season and want to employ as many local people as possible. Its awesome to see how we started out with two people and now we have access to about 9 people. Some of the guides also work with other tour companies. I do not hold anybody under contract so guides in Rocinha can work for whomever they want. These are three new guides that have joined with us in the last two months. Erik (the guide listed at the bottom) has been working with us off and on for about 2 years. It would be nice to find more women to be guides but finding English speakers is not very easy.
Guilherme with two tourists from Slovenia. Nikola Veljovic and her husband.
I first met Guilherme or "Xuxa" (pronounced Shoo-Sha) as he is called back in 2007 when he was studying English at Two Brothers, a NGO here in Rocinha.
He was born and raised in Rocinha. He is now 24 years old. He used to hang out with Sandro, a graffiti artist and Jiu jitsu practitioner. When I would see Xuxa, he always enjoyed showing off his new ability to speak English. My friend Ryan came to visit in 2011 and donated his bodyboard to me to give to somebody in Rocinha. I knew Xuxa loved to bodyboard and knew that this would be a great present. Every month or so I would see him while walking through the community and always thought he would be a good choice as a guide. The only problem is he was already working at a store in Leblon. He went to Estacio de Sa University and graduated in the hospitality sector so this tourism course is just adding to his objective. I never knew about him graduating or making this course until recently. About 2 months ago I saw him and he told me his plans. He studies Monday through Friday from 8am -12 noon.
On the weekends Guilherme works with us. He also still bodyboards and is now training Jiu jitsu as well. His other hobbies are running, hiking and bike riding. He enjoys football and his favorite team is Flamengo. His favorite American football team is the Seattle Sea Hawks. He is a good addition to our team as he enjoys meeting people from all over the world.
I remember making a two with two Canadian researchers about 3 months ago. We were walking down street number 4 as I was explaining the new construction of buildings that took place there in 2009. We can across this young man and we stopped to have a conversation with him. We ended up having an hour conversation with him about growing up in Rocinha and his future goals.
Carlos is 21 years old and was born and raised in the favela. He enjoys working part time with us as a guide so he can keep up with his studies. He lives with his father but visits his mother and brothers everyday. In his spare time he likes to play video games, go to the beach or read. He and his friends enjoy going to Lapa to listen to live music. Right now he is getting prepared for college and he is studying hard. He enjoys working and studying. He plays football recreationally with his friends. He is a fan of Flamengo like most people in Rocinha. He enjoys following the English National Team and his favorite team outside of Brazil is Manchester United. His plans are to go to University to study International Relations or History and eventually study outside of Brazil.
I met Daniel through Obi, who has been working with us over 1 year. Daniel expressed interest in wanting to work as a guide like Obi so he can improve his English. I asked Daniel to come by my house to meet with him and find out his plans. I also wanted to see how much English he can speak. At 23 years old he is in his 5th year enlisted in the Brazilian Air Force. His first taste of travel was when he visited Argentina to see an Air Force base there. He lives at home with his mother, father and brother. He learned English by studying at the American School in Gavea for 8 years. His plans are he would like to be an officer in the Air Force. If that does not work out his other choice is to study and graduate a course in tourism so he can show the beauty of Rio de Janeiro and Rocinha.
He loves sports and follows several American sports teams. He follows New York Giants (Football), Boston Celtics (NBA) and the Boston Red Sox (Baseball).
His own sport that he practices is Muay Thai kickboxing. He has a 13 year old Fluffy dog "Lion" who he loves dearly. With friends he likes to go dancing and enjoys hip hop.