I still remember a conversation I had with a lifeguard on a beach in São Conrado.
Having gotten over the formalities and my reasons for coming to Brazil he asked me where I was staying. When I told him that I was living in Rocinha, he looked at me shell-shocked and said, “ You do know there are HOTELS right?”
Yes, I did know there were hotels; very nice hotels in fact as many of the neighboring suburbs are very well off.
Standing on my balcony in Rocinha I could see the short tunnel that separated the very rich from the very poor. But it was my choice to stay in Rocinha.
I had chosen to mix traveling and volunteering and it’s a decision that I’m glad I made. For me the decision was simple, not only would I be helping those less fortunate but I was also able to combine it with my love of traveling.
Right about now you may be wondering what Rocinha is.