Inspired by the photos and articles in National Geographic, one of my goals on my trip to South America was to document the favelas in Rio. A favela is a pretty much a shanty town that were built in the late 19th century by people that had no where else to live.

I found that there are actually more a two dozen of these tight communities, the largest being Rocinha, housing over 70,000 people. However, I adventured into the second largest one called Complexo do Alemao. This favela is considered very safe by the BBC. One could not ask for a more safe, sophisticated and modern cable car system for such as community. It is almost awkward, but is a way for locals to get from their homes to work in the city. Otherwise it would take people ages to travel outside of the town.

The government imposed aggressive measures in the “pacification” strategy. The plan was to get all of the drug lords and gangs out of the favelas to boost the safety of Rio because the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games.

Despite being homes for the poor, the housing structures are just so colorful and when bunched up together like they are, it just makes for an epic photograph. If you plan on traveling to Rio de Janeiro, I highly recommend that you visit a “pacified” favela. It really opens your eyes to the real Rio experience in my honest opinion.


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