Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bad Start, Great Finish!


The first two fotos you see were taken from my cel phone inside the bus just minutes after the tree fell. I stuck my arm out the window of the bus, pointed and tried to get the best foto that I could of the fallen tree. The first foto you can see the huge green thing that covers the whole foto is the big tree. The second foto is people running to make sure nobody is injured. The last two fotos were taken by one of our guides, Jody King as he was heading up the hill around 11am.


Where was Rambo when we needed him? (Rambo is a tree trimmer who lives and works in the favela)


I left my house this morning feeling upset because the weather was crappy, drizzling rain.. I had already cancelled our planned BBQ for our special tour for our Danish visitors. The day wasn't starting off so good. I got onto the bus to go to Copacabana at 9:15am, plenty of time to arrive to my destination. As we are driving up towards the painted houses in the favela, we stop close to the entrance to Rua 3 when all of a sudden I hear this cracking sound, like tree branches breaking. All of a sudden a big thud and just behind us about 5 meters. I see a tree down on top of the bus directly behind us. After that, you could hear power lines dropping and electricity power boxes exploding and all sorts of popping sounds. The driver of my bus opens all the doors and people are running frantically out and screaming about the loud noises they are hearing. They are running up the hill away from the tree and noises scared! Because its my job to notice everything (I am a tour guide), I knew I was safe inside the bus. The tree dropped behind us with plenty of space open and there were no power lines close to the bus. That's when I decided to snap a few fotos with my cel phone. I know they are not the best quality but I was a bit far away and my positioning of having to stick my arm out the bus window was not easy. I see that after 5 minutes the bus is not moving so I tell the driver that its best that we move just incase more wires fall down. Actually I wanted him to move because I had guests to meet at 10:30am in Copacabana. We finally started moving after 15 minutes of sitting there. As the bus was leaving the favela, I started to think of how lucky I was to be on this bus and not the one directly behind me that got hit with the tree. I was sitting towards the back of the bus and if our bus had passed just 20 seconds later than it did, our bus would have gotten hit. As we entered Leblon, thick traffic and I am starting to worry because I do not like being late to appointments.


I finally arrive at my destination 20 minutes late! I meet my guests of 30 Danish students between the ages of 15-17 and 4 teachers. We walk to the bus stop to head back to Rocinha. We wait about 10 minutes and our group of 30+ people board the bus. I think the driver was surprised at the numbers of foreigners invading his bus! I sat down, took a deep breath and just started to think of the day ahead. We arrived at the top of the hill in Rocinha and directly took the students to the indoor football area. I met with Andre the local football coach and Dembore and I started to organize teams. Out of the 30 Danish, about 20 took part in the friendly game with the locals. We played 4 on 4 with a goalie (5 a side total). Nobody was keeping score as this was just a friendly game of mixed teams. Everybody played together mixing the Danish students in with the favela kids. This was great to see the passing and goal scored with team work!



After the friendly was over, we called the kids into a circle in the middle of the playing area and Rasmus Schack, the person who organized this special tour gave out some gift bags to 10 of the players. One of the Danish teachers gave Andre a cap and water bottle of the team in Denmark.



We all gathered for a foto with everybody who was involved in this game. The students and players sat together as it should be. I know the kids from the favela will remember this for a long time.



Before we left the football game, Andre wanted a foto with the guides! So from Left to Right, JODY KING, DEMBORE DA SILVA, ANDRE THE COACH, FREDDY GOMES, ZEZINHO DA SILVA AND ERIK MARTINS



After football we separated the students and teachers into smaller groups so we wouldn't look like a mass mob moving through the favela. We agreed to meet at the bottom of the favela at Trapia Social one of our best por kilo restaurants. After we took everybody up on the pasarella for foto and to say our goodbyes before they had to leave!


I need to thank RASMUS SCHACK for organizing this great opportunity and the teachers from Denmark for trusting in us here at Favela Adventures to show the Danish people our favela.


Before we separated ways, the guides, wanted a foto together..Freddy, Dembore and Jody!


After the tour I went back up the hill to see how things were going with the electricity and tree that fell. I spoke with some people at the site and they said the tree that fell was 60 years old. Nobody was injured. They were still removing the tree and trimming others in the area to prevent this from happening again. Electricity is down in the area and not expected to return for a few days as they have many power lines to fix. There's never a boring day in the favela..here are some fotos from the clean up. Notice the size of the tree that fell.