Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Holidays Arrive

This week has been a very busy one as the holidays are approaching. Family is very important to the favela and there are many family type events now going on. Every year I try to find two projects that I feel there is a great need to help. Many schools and NGO’s here get help but there are many who don’t. Leidy Martins of the Creche Municipal Castelinho da Rocinha (a daycare) had sent a list out to many people regarding the need for toys for kids aged 3-4 years old.

I received this list:

2 Superman dolls
1 Patati & Patata clown dolls
1 Airplane
2 Ironman dolls
2 Hulk dolls
2 Capitan America dolls
1 Helicopter
3 Batman dolls
2 Dinosaurs

All gifts bought and wrapped ready to go. 

Each gift I wanted to spend between 15-20 reais for each present. So it was good that I could buy 16 gifts. The great thing about this daycare is that it serves many children. There were others who also contributed to this effort which is good because then I can help other projects.

Thursday December 10th was the party at the crèche. Usually when I donate anything I just pass on the things to the project directors but I had one of the women ask me to distribute the gifts. We arrived at the crèche at 10am as the workers were setting up the food tables. I brought the gifts wrapped and was directed to put them in a service room. I met many parents who I see everyday near where I live. Parents brought their children who most were between 2-4 years old. Jody came along to test his new camera.

Everybody started eating and enjoying the company of friends. After about 30 minutes we went inside the crèche to see the Escola de Musica da Rocinha give a performance with 8 students playing acoustic guitars. They even played about 6 songs including “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns & Roses.  After I was escorted to the “Green Room”. This is where the gifts were given out. I got to sit down and had help with one of the teachers in directing which children would receive the gifts. I would tell the teacher the toy then she would tell me the name of the child and then I would hand the gift to the boy. It was strange all the gifts I happened to buy were for boys. Big smiles all around in the room and the parents loved it too. After the gifts were given out Pai Noel (Santa Claus) came in the room where the children were able to pose with him with their toys. Many fotos were taken and thanks to the director, teachers and all the people who donated toys for the children created an awesome day in Rocinha! Below are some of the fotos from the party.

Escola de Musica da Rocinha playing for the party.

Foto: Jody King

 Foto: Jody King
Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
 Foto: Jody King
Foto: Jody King


Cristiano, who I wrote about in a previous blog contacted me again needing help with the purchasing of cat carriers. So, I met him and bought 2 more carriers for his work helping the stray cats and dogs to get neutered or spayed.

I also wanted to get to know him better and the work he does. His work is focus on getting the cats and dogs fixed so they don’t multiply. He tends to more cats than dogs. He also tries to find homes for these animals. Here is some background on this wonderful man who love animals.

He has been doing this voluntary work since 2011. When he was working he used to spend most of his wages on taking care of the animals. He sold his bus pass so he could have more money and would go to work by foot. His work with the animals here has been a challenge because he was working during the hours when the vet clinic was open. So he was only able to bring animals on Saturdays. He eventually stopped working with the support of his parents so he could focus more on his love for helping the animals.

Now a NGO is helping him with food and medications. Today he is one of the founders of a political party for animals on Brazil called “Partners in the Protection of Animals”. He is responsible for the group in the state of Rio de Janeiro. He is the first born and raised resident of Rocinha to be the founder of a political party.

He says “Nothing of what I have been able to do today for them (the animals) has not been without sacrifice. If I did not take care of the animals in the favela, I would probably be making a lot of money but the life I lead is the life to be lived.”

I am really proud to be working with Cristiano. I hope our tours continue to get more popular as I want to be able to help more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Special Guests visit Spin Rocinha

Opportunities come to those who persevere. I have always believed this regardless of obstacles that may be put in front of you. You need to move on and keep going! I am far from the perfect human being. But I try to learn from these things and move on. I have never had a problem with hard work. I enjoy my work too as long as it benefits the community where I live.

Alberto & Maykon

On Friday November 27th Spin Rocinha received the owner of DJ Mag-Espanha to our school. Alberto Taboada heard of us about 3 years ago from Dj’s who had visited our school. He stopped by at 1:30pm so it was difficult to get some of the students to come for this visit. But we can always organize for Alberto's next visit. He came to Rio to see our school but was in Sao Paulo for the Sonar Festival

Alberto contacted me on short notice and we were able to have him come for a visit and interview myself and one of our students Dj Maykon about our project. He took fotos and got a chance to see Dj Maykon in action. He wants to see how he can help promote our school and help us in any other way he can.

He was impressed with our top of the line equipment and commitment to bringing the best instruction and resources for our students. He plans to return and we will be better prepared to receive his visit next time.

Luca & Lucas

In September of 2015, I received an email from this guy Luca Iacomino a former Dj, from Spain who is a sales and marketing rep for Ableton, a software music production system. He had interest to check out our dj school Spin Rocinha. He had received my contact from Martin Backes who is from Germany and visited our school sometime back. I also had met some friends in common that Luca knew like Dj's El e Ela who visited out school back in 2011. Luca is a rep for Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Europe who travels at least 3 times a month for his work.

Luca wanted to impress on us that Ableton wants to be a socially responsible company. Their focus is on music education and getting more people involved with music production worldwide.

We had set up a day to meet in September but their schedule was limited so I was unable to show them our studio. So, Luca had made plans to return for a Sonar Festival in Sao Paulo. He had the opportunity to come to Rio for a few days so he wanted a chance to finally see our school. So he contacted Lucas and the meeting was set. I met him and Lucas in front of the Leblon shopping then we took a van to Rocinha.

Lucas is also a professional sound engineer and has worked on tv, films, music scores and other projects needing a sound professional. He also works in post production and editing. Lucas plans to offer classes for any of students who have interest to learn sound production.  You can contact Luca through his website here. Or email:

With Maykon we were able to install some of the Ableton software on computers and Maykon now has a key so he has it on his computer now and has started to experiment with it. This is a great opportunity for our students to start getting involved in the production side of Dj'ing. Spin Rocinha wants to thank the kindness of Ableton and their representatives like Luca and Lucas for offering this opportunity to the future dj's and music creators of Rocinha!