Our host family lives right next to the favelas, which is another word for a slum. Each time we drive past the favelas, I am shocked and saddened by how people live in such poor conditions. Last night as we were driving past the favelas, there was a beautiful sunset, and I asked my host mom if I could take a picture of it. She pulled over the car on the road with the beat down houses. After I took the photo I said…”This is beautiful”  and she looks at me and says…

“Beautiful? No, this is ugly”


Then our host family began to educate me on favelas. They said around 6% of the population in Brazil lives in a favela. As migration increased in Brazil, favelas grew in major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Due to the government’s corruption, the poor are displaced throughout the city and are without help. The favelas are free to live in; however, it can be very dangerous due to the crowded and unsanitized area. This leaves people in poverty without education and jobs.


Favelas are known to be a “dangerous and ugly place”; however there is so much beauty to be found within them. For one,  I love how each house is painted in a different bright vibrant color. It adds so much uniqueness and joy to the slums. In addition, when I was driving by I noticed children playing soccer on the street and families eating dinner outside on the porch.They may not have a lot of earthly possessions but they have each other and that is what matters most. I also spotted the colorful fruit stands and market signs on the corner as a way to earn money. They all work together to provide for the community and make ends meet.


” The people who live in this Favela are the best, very welcoming and friendly.” – Caue (student at University)

When I look at these pictures of the Favelas I don’t see ugly, I see beautiful. From the outside, it may appear one way, but once you get to know the people and their lives, you can find so much beauty.


-Brianna Torrell

Categories: Brazil 2018


Rebekah Distaffen · May 12, 2018 at 3:05 am

I love this so much Bri! As incredibly heartbreaking as it is sometimes to see things like this, or to hear stories like this, it is beautiful to see that the people are not allowing that to be their only story. It is beautiful to see them surviving and making the most out of what they have. And, as a photographer, I am sure you love the picturesque beauty as well. I’m enjoying all your photos and insights from this trip, and I look forward to more!

Michael Torrell · May 14, 2018 at 1:14 am

Hi Brianna! Well said! Miss you! Glad you are learning so much about the culture there! Your blog reminded me of this scripture:
1 Samuel 16:71 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Love, Dad

Lisa Torrell · May 14, 2018 at 2:05 am

Bri! This is beautiful! I can see your heart is being moved by the people in this country! Ever since you were a young child, you have always been able to see the positives in every situation, which is truly such a gift! God is doing big things through your trip, and that is what we have been praying for! We pray that He will develop compassion for the poor deep in side of you, so you will want to help and make a difference in this world. “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17 Love you and Miss you tons!! 🙂 Mom

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