Friday, April 1, 2016

The Favela Leaves Impressions

Its awesome when we meet visitors that are somehow impressed by our community. Its great when the visitor sees the favela but then wants to return to check out other things in Rocinha. We have had guests get hair cuts, have dental work done and get tattoos. Businesses in Rocinha rely on word of mouth and having a good reputation. People here talk and word travels fast.

Andrew Ritchie and his girl friend Tracey came on a tour and enjoyed the favela so much that they came back today. Tracey decided to stay at the bottom of the hill and do some shopping. Andrew decided to get a tattoo to mark his memory of the favela Rocinha.

Obi met him at the top of Rocinha at 2pm, and took him to Diego Rossi Tattoo Studio at Escadao near 99 an area high up the hill. Diego pre-designed a drawing of a favela that wraps around the forearm.

I wanted to learn more from Andrew about his impressions of Rocinha. He is from Birmingham England, born and raised. He is 55 years young and works as a Locomotive Engineer or a train operator. I always was fascinated and loved trains as a kid, and still do.

He said that he wanted to visit the favela to see all aspects of life in Rio, not just the rich neighborhoods. He said "You go up to the christ, you look all around the city and favelas are part of it." He felt very comfortable and was welcomed by the people in Rocinha in a good way. He didn't feel like an outsider. "People here are interested in me, as I am in them."

Andrew said he plans to return to get the rest of the favela colored in.

I asked him why a tattoo of a favela? He said that many of his tattoos represent different periods of his life and the favela impressed him so much. He feels that there is a misconception about the favelas. The outside media tends to talk only about the drug dealers. He says, the favela is a worthy place to visit, shop and even get a tattoo. Andrew says that he will return!

Diego Rossi tattoo artist and Andrew before saying good byes!

Andrew on a moto taxi going back to where he is staying, after getting his tattoo!