Contrary to what you may believe, there is a huge booming economy within the slums and shantytowns of Rocinha. Real estate is at its prime as crime has gone down significantly with the recent invasion of the Police Pacification Units.
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From the top of the Rocinha favelas near Gavea, you can see many sidewalk stalls and vendors selling food, drinks, and flowers.
Within the windy and narrow favela community, you can find couches, refrigerators, and a hand vacuum for sale.
I did not inquire the cost of the items, but I’m sure bartering is also a form of currency. One inhabitant has collected a multitude of cans to recycle for money.
Vendors also sell handmade jewelry and souvenirs made from the Rocinha favela inhabitants. The prices range from R$1 – R$5 which is absurdly cheap. In addition, some of the items are made from electrical wires.
There is also a local family owned bakery who sells pastries, cakes, pudding, Acai berry, pastels, and pizza.
I grabbed a cheese pastel with Acai which was delicious.
In addition to selling food, they also sell hardware parts and building materials within the favela community. Medicine and school supplies are also available if needed. Think of it as your local bakery, Home Depot, and CVS rolled all into one shop.
As you can see, this man carrying 3 heavy loads of consumable liquids took a little rest walking up the narrow pathways.
I think it’s great to give back to the favela community since they are hardworking citizens and it will improve the economy. Everything is mostly homemade or imported with great lengths to the Rocinha favelas.