Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How Tourism Benefits Rocinha

A group of Americans from L.A., Chicago and New York were in Rio for a bachelor party and wanted to visit Rocinha with the special interest in playing football (soccer) with the locals, so we set it up. The Americans decided they would wear Flamengo Shirts (red & black) honoring one of Rio's most popular teams. They played well and gave the favela boys a run but lost 9-7. 

How Tourism in the Favela can make a difference.

I just had a person email me and ask me about how this kind of tourism can benefit the favela. I can only talk about what we do. What others do is not of our concern.

We started this tourism company back in 2007 with the idea of using socially responsible tourism to raise money to support different projects here in the community. This is how we operate. If it can’t help the favela, then what kind of social work is it?

The idea is to try to help as many people in the community benefit from the projects we support. We have several projects we support. We have our own NGO Spin Rocinha, Dj project and other projects that we are involved in.

There is an ethical side to tourism here that needs to be considered and I went through lots of talking with residents about my idea. The first is that at all times, residents and the community be treated with the utmost respect. This includes if approached by locals, to greet them and engage in conversation. Just as you want to "know" the favela, they might have interest in you and where you are from. Second, is about who and what you can photograph. Most people do not want to be in photographs, so don't take their picture. 

3 important factors when considering a tour like this:

1.) The visits/tours be done by local people. ALL of our guides are people who live here or were born here. We only employ people who live inside the community and all of our guides participate in some kind of social project outside of what we do.

2.) The tour must be on foot walking through the community for more than 3 hours. On foot you see everything and are part of our community. Rocinha is the largest favela community in Brazil. There is no way that you will receive a quality experience in under 3 hours. When you walk in the community, residents appreciate this. It shows you are not afraid of us and want to get to "know" the community better.

3.) Companies that support local projects and initiatives that benefit the favela. This is our most important aspect of why we do this work. Since I started in this work, I still live in the same small rented one bedroom apartment. I do not live a extravagant lifestyle nor do I want to. I enjoy helping with present and future projects. Other than our Dj School Spin Rocinha, currently we also support by donating school supplies to an English school.

We also support a Local Daycare called Refugio e Fortaleza run by Luciana Santos who cares for 32 children between the ages of 1 year up to 6 years old. The object of the work we do is to try to help projects that receive no help. At this time we are working on connecting with more projects here to attract interest from outside people. The idea is to create a better understanding about favela culture and break down the barriers of stigma for those living in these communities.

Here is a photo of tourists bringing donations to Luciana's Creche. We were in the middle of the visit and decided to stop by the daycare as a few of the students in the group were interested in how child care works in Rocinha when both parents are working.

Here is Jody with donations that we were able to contribute to his English school. Lately we have been sending him volunteers that want to contribute to his school. 

In January 2017 we also started supporting "Projeto Flor e Xavier", run by 
Ruth Silva. I have always loved animals so this was a project that we were interested in helping. Her project helps to spay and neuters stray dogs and cats in the favela. We have donated monthly 10-15 kilo bags of cat food for her 55 cats and 7 dogs. Or we help pay for medicine if the animals get sick or need to be castrated. We always talk with the organization about other ways we can help.

This is Ruth's house where she cares for the animals.

Ruth is in the process with her husband of building a Shelter for these animals. The place will house all her animals. In the future they want to build a second floor and create a dog & cat type hostel where locals can place their animals if the go away and need a place where their pet can stay well cared for. The money earned through this will help her fund her project. We have helped to buy bricks so they can begin construction. They started last week putting in the cement foundation and building the walls.

When the tours are busy we can contribute more and Ruth understands this. We buy the cat food or medicine, then I call her and she comes to pick it up at the pet shop. I have 3 cats so I am well known at the Rocinha Pet Shop. Sometimes if we buy a lot, they will give us discount which helps Ruth's project. 

Our Organization

Here is a breakdown of our organization:

I am going to explain the 6 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 5 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.
Our tours invest in the community specifically by providing jobs for guides who live here.

This area is called Rua 4 and there's a huge graffitti wall. These guests were interested in local art work.

The visitors always enjoy spontaneous activities like a Capoeira presentation by the local boys.

Guests from China had the opportunity to meet local celebrity Caio, who is a moto taxi driver and directs traffic in Rocinha. He loves meeting people from all over the world.

"Rambo da Rocinha", another celebrity, helping a visitor with her cel phone.

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 5 days a week, from 7-9:30pm 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 portuguese 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 referral 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 recommend 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.

 A mix of locals and foreigners working on an outdoor painting project.

Dana from Argentina spent two weeks volunteering here at a creche and she love it so much that she will be returning in December.

4.) Donations- This is a fairly new project that we have started. About 4 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 help and then began to focus donations to be for specific projects. For example Rogerio Roque runs a place called Art Space. We would give the poorest projects school or art supplies. 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 success and with that we can help so many more projects in need.

Rogerio Roque who came to our Dj school to pick up some art supplies for his project called "Art Space". 

5.) Housing- Many times after tours are given, people ask us about volunteering but they want to stay inside the community. We can help them find a place to stay. We have access to residents who have separate apartments to rent or home stays with a family. The idea is to have people from outside of Brazil get to know and understand favela life. If you want to stay in a guesthouse, we have a place where visitors/volunteers can stay. Its a 3 story house with plenty of room for 6 guests. There are other options as well. Contact us for more information.

6.) We can facilitate individual projects here. In the past we have helped people from outside of Brazil who are involved in many different projects. They contacted me wanting to make interesting projects with the locals. In the future we plan to help facilitate some Basketball Clinics that will be run by Nate, a former visitor who runs a project in Philadelphia called "Books before Ball". These clinics are important to the development of youth, where the focus is on combining Education with Basketball.

Daniel Hoffman from the USA, brought disposable cameras to the favela and distributed them to children and adults to document their lives. When he receives the cameras back from the residents, he is going to make a blog and put the fotos and profiles of the people who took part in this project. See the post here about this:

Beccy McCray from England came and stayed in Rocinha and we referred her to two art projects that wanted to take part in her art project. read more here:

Ethan and Jade King from the USA, made a big impression on our football fans with their kind contribution. read more here: 

We helped documentary film makers who were here to show the other side of the favela, the good stories that need to be told.

These are just some of the projects we have facilitated here in our favela and we are always open to making more great things happen here. If you have an idea of a project you would like to do, contact me and we can make it happen!

These are the 6 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 community!  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. 

To contact us about anything regarding Rocinha, you can contact Zezinho at: visitrocinha@gmail.com  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Guerreiros do Corte Strike again!

Foto: Folha de Sao Paulo

The favela of Rocinha in the last 3 weeks has been going through a “war” like situation with 2 gangs of drug dealers fighting over territory to sell their drugs. The dealers have been active since the early 1980’s so this is nothing new. But outright shootings on a daily basis is not the norm in Rocinha. The last time a conflict like this happened was in 2004. So, for 13 years the favela existed in virtual peace with very few shootings or conflicts.

Now add the police and the military presence into the mix and now you have a bomb waiting to explode. This has affected the most vulnerable in the community- the residents who have nothing to do with this. Often you hear on the streets “This is not our war, it’s between them, we just happen to live here”.

Those most affected are the workers who end up trapped in their homes unable to leave without risking a bullet in their back. Everyone needs to work. Stories have circulated of residents losing jobs or being fired because they can’t get to work. Over 10,000 children in the community have not been able to go to school or daycare. Businesses in certain areas cannot open due to constant gunfire.
People wonder when it will all stop. When will stability in the favela arrive?

What the community needs is hope and positivity. No child, youth or adult should have to live in these conditions. So when the “Guerreiros do Corte” decided to hold their event today it was a breath of fresh air to see the community come together to help those less fortunate who have struggled through these difficult times. 

Regardless of the still existing tensions in the favela, 4 young people decided to run an event. Their event was called “TONELADA”. 

The 4 young men responsible for putting this together were, Rômulo Saad, 22, Igor Barreto, 26, Roger Borges, 23 and Julio Dias, 15. Amazing what these young men have done.

The idea is to collect 1 ton of food to distribute later to the more needy parts of the favela. The significance was to offer haircuts in exchange for people to bring 1 kilogram of non-perishable food. In exchange the person would get a free hair cut. 

They had white T-Shirts with their event name to distinguish the over 30 barbers from the “clients”. 

This is their 6th social action project that they have organized. This time they added a few women stylists and nail professionals to cater to the ladies. This is also a great marketing tool for these barbers and hair care professionals to promote their work and gain most customers.

They held the event at Emocoes, a warehouse type place that usually hosts huge Funk, Pagode and Forro parties of about 2000 people.

There were dj’s spinning the latest tunes and a live band. 

Young children had access to a trampoline, a mechanical bull and other activities. Hot dogs and soda were also provided for free. Local businesses in Rocinha helped to sponsor the event.

The barbers were ages 16 to about 35 years old. Most were locals from Rocinha but I spoke to a few who came by bus 2 hours from the Baixada Fluminense. Most of the barbers’ clients were young men or youth. 

The hairstylists for the women had a choice of hair, nails or eyebrow shaping. While the people were getting their treatments, the young children were off playing in the areas with the trampoline and received toys that were donated.

The 4 young men responsible for putting this together were, Rômulo Saad, 22, 
Igor Barreto, 26, Roger Borges, 23 and Julio Dias, 15. Amazing what these young men have done.

“This is a way of bringing the community together “ says Romulo Saad.

“We had a difficult childhood and understand how hard it is for kids in the favela.” Says Igor Barreto

“What we are doing is showing by example to keep boys from going down the wrong path in life.” Roger Borges commented

“It’s a big community party” says Mascot Julio Dias.

These 4 youth form the Guerreiros do Corte or Warrior Haircutters, from Rocinha, which is printed on their shirts for this event. The 4 sought out this profession as a way to stay away from the fate of many young men growing up in favelas who get involved in the drug trade.

They all met at different times at Bravos Salon a family barbershop on Street number 1 at the top of Rocinha.

Romulo Saad began his training at 18 when he left Duque de Caxias and came to Rocinha to live with his father.  As soon as he arrived he contacted the Bravos 
Salon looking for an opportunity. He wanted a better life and thought Rocinha, 
with its population of almost 300,000 could offer him better job success.

Igor Barreto was born and raised in Rocinha. His girlfriend encouraged him to 
become a barber because he already showed a certain talent when he cut his 
father-in-laws hair. He got a job at the shop where friendships were made that 
resulted in this project being born.

Roger Borges, the “genius” of the group, at the age of 17 was given an ultimatum by his mother to get a job to support his newly pregnant wife. Now he owns his own house and is expecting his second child.

Julio Dias or “mascot” is living with his mother and grandmother and is is high school. In his off time has opened up his own place inside his house. He got started practicing on his young cousins. And did some apprentice type work at the barbershop under the guidance of the more experienced barbers.

The 3 have their own barbershop on Street number 1. Mascot is still in training 
so he doesn’t cut professionally yet. And he is still a minor. The shop opens in 
the afternoon and stays open until about midnight.

Each earn their own money and can earn up to 2,000 reais a month. The 3 are 
popular and word has gotten out in the community about these young go getters. 
The owner of a tattoo studio drew pictures of the to put in the shop as a promotion for their business.

The three chose to get tattoos with references to their profession.  Borges tattooed a hair machine, razors and “GDC” (Guerreiros do Corte). Barretos paid homage to his grandfather by having his initials flanked by scissors. Saad honored a friend who lost his life through crime.  His friend encouraged him to keep with his job. He said “Go work, get your life”.

A haircut in Rocinha costs between 15-18 reais. Through TONELADA, the residents with their food contribution pay between 3-5 reais, which is about the cost of one kilo of rice or beans. At the end of this event, the group hopes that their actions will inspire others to become barbers or will motivate others to seek out a positive path in their lives.

Here are some of the "warriors" at work! 

UPDATE: Below are some fotos of the residents who benefitted from the food that was collected through donations. We have people here in the favela that are in need of this food. This is how the community helps each other. So proud to see this social action here in Rocinha.

Congrats to everyone that contributed to make this a successful event. 

Rocinha: My Likes and dislikes

People often ask me why I love Rocinha. There are many reasons to love this place so I am going to write. But I am also going to write what I don't like. With these blog posts I hope to help educate people who want to learn about favela life.

Things I like:

The friendly people and animals- any day walking in the favela, I meet people who greet you and want to stop and talk. When I am not working, I always stop and talk to people. I enjoy being part of something bigger than me. When I lived outside of Brasil, I never met people as friendly as those here. The community overall has a good vibe or feeling to it. Even with challenges people have, its not a miserable place. Also most of the dogs and cats are friendly. I have a route that I walk almost every day and I see the same cats who greet me and want attention. I love it and they love it too! Many street animals get little or no attention.

The cats need love and cuddles too!

Jody has this dog Bella who follow him and loves attention. They are buddies.

Everything is close by- So, true. Within 5 minutes walking distance there a internet cafe, three hair cutting shops, 3 variety stores with a good selection of food, one is open until 10:00pm the other is directly across from my house is open until 2:00am. Theres a mini market across from my street that is open from 6:00am until 2:00am. Bus stops are close by.  Fresh baked bread you can find less than 3 minutes from my house at two bakeries. Two butcher shops if you want fresh meat, poultry or fish.

Alex da Peixaria has the best place to buy all types of fish in Rocinha.

The over 6500 businesses- You do not need to leave the favela for anything, theres everything you would ever need here inside. The newest thing to come to Rocinha is the growth of Sushi shops. We have about 10 places now that serve Sushi from the top to the bottom of the favela. Electronics, furniture, clothing, bars, restaurants, real estate offices, you name it, we have it!

Casas Bahia are all over Brazil. They are equal to "Best Buy" store in the US.

Bob's Burgers is also a franchise fast food chain on Estrada da Gavea, Rocinha

The decent transport- as mentioned before we have two bus routes that operate from 4:30am until about 3:00am. Its not perfect, but in regards to my job rarely have I ever had problems with transport. There is the 539-Copacabana, 538-Botafogo. Service could be better especially during rush hour but its not terrible. The vans run circular route through Rocinha, to Gavea, Leblon then coming back to Rocinha passing by Vidigal. The motos run 24 hours and are fast and efficient transport within the favela, but if you want to go outside Rocinha, they can also take you wherever you want to go for a set price.

Mototaxis run 24hrs and can take you anywhere inside or outside the favela.

The very reasonable rent and utilities- I pay 500 reais a month for a large one bedroom apartment. I like my place as it has good ventilation and my neighbors are great. I have two large windows facing the main street and one smaller window in the bathroom. My electricity is 50-80 reais a month. Internet costs 50 reais a month. The building is quiet and people respect each other. Where I live is close to everything. I also rented my apartment on a handshake and no contract, no background or credit check and no deposit. Try doing that in the US or any other western country, impossible. There is a sense of trust here. If you don't pay your rent here, word will get out and you will not be able to find a place here.

Finding a place to stay or rent- There are a few real estate type places that offer listings of places to rent or buy. I used a service like this to rent the apartment that I live in now. One place that is well known is called Passagarda and they are on the main street in Rocinha.

So many choices for restaurants- My favorite places are the "Por Kilo" places which is like buffet style in choice but you pay by weight. Trapia is my favorite of all of them. Theres a place near my house called "Bom Apetite" where I get all the veggies and pasta I can eat with a good size portion of fish all for 11 reais which is also good food for a great price. And Sushi Roma is the best place for Sushi. There are many other great places too but these are my 3 favorites.

"Por kilo" at Trapia starts at 11:30am until about 6:00pm.

This is one of the many Sushi plates offered by Sushi Roma.

The street parties in the Via Apia- Every weekend theres always something going on. Brazilians love social events and parties and they spread out through the community. Anyone is welcome. Private parties are not held on the streets. If people want a private party they can rent a space to make their own event.

The street full of partiers. Street parties start around 12:00 midnight until 7am.

The love of FLAMENGO!!- What more needs to be said about Rocinha's love for the Flamengo Football team? Rocinha has its own fan club called
Raça Rubro Negra - 17ª Região Rocinha . They have weekly events where people in the community gather at several different bars or restaurants to watch the game on big screen televisions with family and friends. Lots of eating and drinking goes on but in a festive mood as people support Flamengo.

Living with my 3 cats that I found as kittens on the streets here-
I love my 3 furballs that I found as kittens in different parts of Rocinha. Many people here have cats, dogs or birds. I prefer cats! My cats are now indoor cats because I live on the main street. I don't want them to get hit by a car.

My family...  :)

A 24 hours bar/restaurant across the street from my house- If I get late night hungry, theres always rotisirie chicken that is awesome. On the weekends, there is a live band always playing. There is also a market open until 2:00am.

Being a 15 minutes walk to the beach- The beach is a peaceful escape for many who live in this packed in urban jungle. It's the one place where nobody can judge you based on your social class.

Street fairs on the Weekends- I enjoy walking through the community and talking with just about anyone being able to work here, not having to leave the community for my job there are always place to go where you can hang out with friends.

5 gyms where you can work out- Lets see there's Rocinha Fitness at 199, Shape in Fundacao, Best Gym in Boiadeiro, X-Sport in the Via Apia and R1 Fitness in Trampolim. People enjoy working out and the prices are very reasonable. I just wish they had a 24 hours fitness like they had in the US when I lived there. The gyms here also are not open on Sundays and close at 2pm on Saturdays. All the gyms are clean, equipment is good and have personal trainers available.

Best Gym located in Caminho do Boiadeiro at the bottom of Rocinha.

XSport was opened about 3 years ago and has top of the line equipment.

XSports Jiu Jitsu with some new members.

R1 Fitness at the bottom of Rocinha, just off the main street in Trampolim

Any kind of Sports- Here in Rocinha the most popular of course is football. But there are other sports too. The most common seen here are Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, Surfing, Swimming, Rollerblading, BMX and Skateboarding.

Community Mail System- Grupo Cartao Amigo or Zig Zag that can deliver mail directly to your door or act like a mail box etc.

Music- You can hear all styles of music throughout the favela. American music is just as popular as the local choices of funk, brazilian hip hop, forro, Pagode and even house music.

Creative Lives- People living creatively with little or nothing but being very resourceful. Many people recycle here. Many kids make their own toys and playing street games.

Children and Youth- Most children play outside playing hide and seek, riding bikes or playing football. Older kids like to go to the beach, skateboard, surf, play sports, play music or do some kind of art.

Attitudes- People not judging you for the clothes you wear or how you look
You don't have to pretend to be someone your not. Everybody seems to get along and show mutual respect to each other.

Schools & Creches- We have 4 public schools that are in Rocinha. There are also 4 municipal daycares and many private ones for parents who work and have young children. There are a few after school programs for kids that need help with their homework. Tatiana Henrique runs a program near my house.

Health Care- We have a UPA 24 hours clinic. The service is good. I have been to the health clinic two times and been happy with the treatment.

Our 24 hours clinic called UPA. For all Brazilians, basic health care is free.

Things I dont like:

The poor sanitation- The city needs to help people here to operate a better system. People here also need to participate in recycling and putting garbage in its proper place. There are designated areas and some places have containers to put trash. Everyone needs to contribute in helping to make the community cleaner. Parents need to educate their children too.

Some areas have open sewers- Again this is an infrastructure problem. The city needs to somehow help the favela create a better way or offer to help cover the open sewers. This like sanitation is not healthy for the locals. Breathing the air continuously from the open sewers cannot be good for ones health. These areas also attract rats.

This area is called the "Valao" (big ditch) which has sewage flowing through it.

That the government does little to help the favela- The government helps only in the way it wants. Or when there is an election year they offer to create or fix something here but usually its not of great importance. Building a "pasarella" or footbridge that cost 16 million reais is a waste, especially considering that it should have cost more like 2-3 million. Recently they just shut down the C4 library for lack of funds. Yet the politicians always seem to be getting raises in their salaries. Why build something if its not going to be put to use?
What good is it to have a nice library thats not open for the community?

Lack of quality education available for our youth-
The public school system here is awful. How can kids get a good education here with 4 hours of school a day? Or days where teachers don't show up? Our public school system in Rio (not just Rocinha) does not prepare our youth for university. And for older youth and adults, we need more job training programs. Brazil does not invest in its people. Very few in favela go to university. Most here are preoccupied with getting a job and earning money to help their families.
We need courses that can provide every student with the opportunity to prepare to take the exams to get into university.

Traffic Jams- Rocinha's streets are very narrow and between the buses, moto taxi's, pedestrians and commercial delivery trucks, this place can be chaotic. This foto is rush hour in Rocinha.

Drug dealers- Like any community, it's unfortunate that this exists but its a reality that when you have people who buy drugs you have people who sell them. This is common in most big cities around the world. Within the favelas there will always be this conflict between police and the dealers. This causes tension and abuses by police against residents, many who are not involved in drugs. The problem is when the police and dealers have shootout and stray bullets find innocent victims. Youth who get involved in these activities need alternatives like job training programs.

A scene all too common: Police carrying out a young man caught in the crossfire.

Pregnant young girls- This is a serious problem in many poor communities where young girls don't have access to activities to fill up their time. Images of sex and relationships are all over television and especially in "novellas" or soap operas. Young girls see these images and imitate adult behaviour without understanding the consequences. Macho society in Brazil promotes male dominance and women are seen to be "conquered" by young men. Lack of education and responsibility prevails and there are many young girls as young as 12-13 are giving birth to children. Lack of parenting or absent mothers and fathers don't help this situation. Birth control and condoms are available but many don't use it. Like most youth they think, it won't happen to them.

A 15 year old girl with her one year old son. It would be better to see girls focus on education than boys.

Homeless cats and dogs- Although most are taken care of, still sad to see this, people not castrating their pets. Many people will give food to the street animals. My friend has started an organization to build a shelter for these animals. Ruth Silva is trying to change this with her project Flor e Xavier.  She is trying to set up a formal registered NGO where she can solicit donations to help her with her animals. She currently has 54 cats and 7 dogs.

People and Jealousy- I see here that if you are successful, people can get jealous of you and gossip. I know, I have been the victim of gossip. Friends have told me so. I look at gossip this way, if people are talking about me, I must be important.

Sometimes I will test the trust of somebody by telling them something about me that is not true. If the information comes back to me, then I know I can't trust this person. Many people also assume that if you make some comment in general (especially on facebook), they will take it personally then comment back to you in a wrong way. I have had this happen several times. People will think I am talking about them (even though I don't mention names or specifics), when what I am saying has nothing to do with them. I question people who react this way because this reaction is of a guilty person. Many adults here are immature and act like high schoolers. I think it has to do with everybody living so close together or people who have nothing better to do than gossip.

I think this is about all I can think of now. If I think of other things positive or negative, I will update this post.