An outsider's view of the favela of Rocinha and its people

Carter, Joseph Coleman
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In this thesis I explore the favela of Rocinha, in Rio de Janeiro, and its rich complexities. I will first give a brief history on favelas with particular emphasis on Rocinha. Then I will talk about the growing tourist industry that has begun to cater to tourists who wish to see the harsher realities of Rio de Janeiro. Over the course of six months during the year 2004, I documented the social and economic effects of tourism on Rocinha, as well as the reciprocal effects on foreign tourists. However, tourists are shown a very limited part of the favela. The parts of the favela that are not covered in the tours are precisely the poorest and most dangerous. During my residency in Rocinha I experienced a reality of the favela that the tours do not show. This led me to explore the most precarious areas of the favela and to see how their residents lived, including the neighborhood of Roupa Suja, where a significant number of residents survive by picking up trash. One of these residents is André Clemente dos Santos. The final part of the thesis is a documentary film on André’s life. The film is an example of the resourcefulness of the poorest favela residents in the absence of any social assistance or formal employment. The DVD reveals André’s economic condition, his relative social exclusion, and his dreams and aspirations