You'lll be smiling like that in 2030?
Definitely! It's a good day. My cousin just got out of prison after five years. That's why I'm smiling. It feels like it's turning, after many many hard years. I grew up on the top of the hill of this favela, almost into the jungle - in a very simple place. Listen, this is the biggest favela in South America, so what does that mean? It means it's the biggest drug industry too. Millions of drug money run through here every week. And I was close getting into it myself, really close. At about 12 to 14 years old, we're the most vulnerable, and that's when you get picked up on the streets by the drug lords. At that time, you haven't really become your own person yet. You care so much about what other people think.
The crazy thing is that the president is doing this "pacification process", which means forcing police control into the favela to drive out the drug lords. But that's much worse; the favela was much safer and stable before the police started taking control. The police here are shit, they're worse than shit, they're fuckers - they're corrupt and paid by other drug lords in other favelas to go in and massacre some of our people. A couple of years ago they shot down a group of young people near that church. And it's been some time since the last massacre, I have a feeling a new one can happen soon...
Even though I love my home, it's no secret that I try to get out, you know. And getting out is just hard. I would live at friends' couches in central Rio and so on, trying to get a hold of the life there. But I'm telling you, it's going to turn. My cousin is out of prison. My aunt is smiling again, and she deserved it so much. You know, you should post this on your page. You should tell people about the life here. They should know.
Carlos // Rochina favela, Rio, Brazil