Nobody climbs the favelas (Brazilian slums) in Rio. They are among the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world… so a Norwegian friend from the hostel & I climbed Mangueira to the top to feed the adrenaline. What we saw (and did not photograph) was child prostitution, children with guns (including M16 military-issue rifles), extreme poverty, and even signs of happiness in the midst of these sad conditions.
I spent a year in Brazil the first time, but I felt that it wasn’t until I climbed the favela of Mangueira that I had finally seen the true Brazil. Even in all it’s poverty, corruption, social, and economic problems, Brazil somehow manages to be the most beautiful place on earth, and Rio de Janeiro is at the heart of it’s beauty.