Last night I went to hang out with my wonderful friend Jansen up in Rocinha. It was the first time my friends and I had ever gone that high up in the favela and it completely blew my mind. The main street that runs throughout the whole area is packed with shops and restaurants,music blaring, people everywhere,moto taxis,cars, vans zooming up and down the street.It reminded me of Van Nuys Blvd!For the first time during this trip…it felt like home, because it reminded me so much of home. I loved it. It is so ironic how the place that is seen as dangerous and just not the place to be in Rio is where I felt most comfortable in. These misconceptions of the favela of course develop differently depending from which social class a person belongs to. A lot of students at the university I attend have not stepped foot into a favela…ever. Of course these are kids with money who were raised to see these communities as prohibited areas. As for myself and my friends..we aren’t rich. We come from similar communities back at home in the states and back at our parents home countries. There are so many similarities between Rocinha and San Miguel…it was a trip!And just like home, I do acknowledge that these communities do require major infrastructure changes and more government help. It is far far far from perfect….far far far from what we have been exposed to in Copacabana and Ipanema….and as far far away from luxurious it may be,the vibe there was more welcoming.