Morro dos Prazers, Cachaça Magnífica

What a way to round our a visit to Rio.  One day we meet with expats in the modern conference rooms of Chevron and the next day we meet with volunteer workers who live in the favelas of Morro dos Prazeres.  From capoeira and music classes, to their small library, video productions, and lessons on STDs, Morro dos Prazeres is a world away from the 21 floor of Chevron.  And who would have thought that in the middle of Santa Teresa is the home of Seu João, owner of Cachaça Magnífica.

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24 Responses to “Morro dos Prazers, Cachaça Magnífica”

  1. Jaclyn Says:

    Visiting the favelas was a bit of a culture shock for me after touring Chevron and FMC the previous day. Both Chevron and FMC were so modern and clean compared to the facilities in the favelas. It was an incredible and eye opening experience to be able to tour and meet people who live and work in the favelas.

    I have only had one other experiencing my life where I had been close enough to hear gunshots and that was in Israel. Hearing ‘warning gun shots’ was a true wake up call to the wealth we had been surrounded by in our hotel in Ipanema.

  2. Brandon Says:

    Today, my group presented to FMC. I believed our suggestions were well received. We missed the visit to the flavellas, but joined the group at Cachaça Magnífica. I had a brief conversation with the daughter of the owner, who expressed their hope to expand into the USA. Currently they are in a restaurant chain in the UK, and are doing well in Rio/Brazil. I noticed their product in our hotel on Impanema. After a few Caprinhas, we headed to a authentic Brazilian Lunch. This was our last night as a group, what a great trip!

  3. Travis Says:

    The visit to Morro dos Prazeres was really heartwarming. Seeing the smiles on the kids who were learning Capoera made me feel great about what these people were doing to help the children in the favelas. The music was really energizing, and made me want to hear more of it during our time in Rio (foreshadowing).

    One difference that we saw between Brazil and the US was the bartending. We were supposed to tell them how we wanted our drink, and they took their time. Pretty representative of how much Americans are used to hurrying and how much Brazilians like to relax and take things a bit more slowly. Several of us bought some Cachaca to bring home, and developed a taste for a bit of lime, a ton of sugar and even more cachaca…aka the Caipirinha!

    Our last meal was great…although Hassan and I decided the comments about the meals being big enough for 3 was a challenge. We each ordered a huge chicken and potatos plate, and finished them off. Seriously, the biggest plate I’ve ever seen that was “made for 1”. I had a bit of some other people’s food too…it was a great last meal.

  4. Summer Says:

    The visit to the Favelas was nothing like I expected. The community center was such a gem and the children are so lucky to have such a beautiful center staffed with such caring people. My favorite was watching the little kids do capoeira and their teacher singing with her powerful voice. I was really grateful for Erin organizing a donation pool and was more than happy to donate towards bettering this center.

    Cachaca Magnifica was a nice relaxing end to the visits, though I still think Josefs caiphirnas at Hotel San Marco were way better! After we walked to Sobre Natural, where the food was interesting to say the least. Nothing I ordered was what I expected, but was good to try some different traditional food! I really wonder though how Brazil and Chile never have enough menus and give like 1 per every 5 people, and how napkins are such a scarce resource. I def appreciate now going to a restaurant and being able to drink tap water and not spend a fortune on little tiny water bottles since I tend to go through several when I eat!

  5. Andrew Says:

    The favelas were an interesting experience. From the moment that the lady at Chevron told us she had to ride in a bullet proof car because of stray bullets, i was a little wary of the favelas. After we arrived at the community center though, I realized that there were some great things going on in the favelas. The teenager who helped make the film was so talented, and its great that the community center is providing him an outlet for his creativity and giving him skills to help him succeed.

    Drinking different types of cachaca in a hundred year old house in the middle of the city was amazing. Once we were inside the walls of his house, it felt like we were in a different world. I always find it interesting in big cities, when people create their own retreats behind the walls of their property, which is such a contrast from the adjacent favelas and crowded streets.

  6. Shadi Says:

    There is no doubt that the visit to the favelas was one of the best experiences of the trip. I think most people had some initial stereotypes of judgments of what a favela is and looks like. However, as soon as we walked into the well renovated house with its great wooden staircase, and seeing two young boys dancing below the stairs, I knew this would be different from what anyone expected. The people that worked there, Danielle, the music instructor, the dance instructor..all of them should be an inspiration to us. The kind of impact these people have on the children is something to truly admire. I couldn’t help but smile the whole time, especially when I was watching the cute little girl do the capoeira dance. I was specifically amazed at the video that the 15yr old boy made. These kids are so talented, it almost puts me to shame! 🙂 I am really glad we had the opportunity to meet the people and children of the organization. And I loved Santa Teresa…a very cute and quaint town.

    The experience at Chevron was so different that you can’t really compare the two. A massive corporation centered around oil and increasing revenue and an organization that centers around goodwill and providing hope to talented young children in unfortunate circumstances…incomparable.

    Unfortunately, the discussion in my room was centered all around the oil business rather than the experience of ex-pats in Brazil. So I can say that I gained some good information on how oil is priced and how they work with suppliers and their competitors :).

  7. Sean Says:

    Our visit to the favela of Morro dos Prazeres was my favorite event in Rio. As we drove up the hill through the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, I couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious about what we would encounter once we crossed into the favela. Along the way we stopped to pick up Daniela, who would serve as our host and guide within the favela. Eugenio, our main Rio guide, told us that it is only safe to enter the favelas if you have a local guide (such as Daniela). He even said that Daniela had to get clearance from the “mayor” or “boss” of the favela in order for us to enter.

    As we were exiting the van, we could hear gun shots coming from the houses below. It was a bit scary since I really didn’t know what was going on and was somewhat worried about stray bullets coming our way. Our guide told us that they were warning shots to alert people that the cops were nearby.

    Once we entered the community center, my anxiety really subsided. It was so great to see the activities and support that are offered to the children of the favelas before and after school: we saw students learning Brazilian dance and music. When then went over to the library where a man named Orlando helps student with reading and art. We had the great opportunity to see a short film that had been produced by a young boy in the favela. The film was great! I hope to see his work at Sundance someday soon! 🙂 Orlando also talked about his mission to watch out for the children and help them to grow and care for themselves. He said that he had built a garden within the favela as a way to show the children that a plant will grow and blossom if they take good care of it, which is a great analogy to teach them to take care of themselves and prepare themselves for success.

    At the end of the tour, we presented the school with money that we had pooled together as a group. The money will be used to purchase and install a window in a new health clinic room they are renovating. Thanks, Erin, for the great idea to make a donation and further support the children within Morro dos Prazeres. I was also happy to hear that the students had assembled books of their artwork that they were selling for 20 reals each. I was happy to purchase one as I knew it would be a great memory of my time in the favela and, more importantly, would allow Orlando to purchase more books for the children’s library.

  8. Sophannaka Says:

    My group had a presentation with FMC today, so we didn’t have a chance to visit the favelas. The presentation went well and they were impressed by our recommendations. They were very welcomed to our suggestions and opened to any discussion throughout the presentation. Then, we joined others at Cachaça Magnífica. I tried a little bit of each type of Cachaça; it was good. It was a nice and relaxing afternoon.

    After that, we had authentic Brazilian lunch. I was surprised that some of the dishes there tasted just like Thai food ^-^. I really like it!! I sat next to Daniela. I told her a little bit about Thai culture and she was surprised that it was very different from Brazilian culture. I love how we tried to communicate with each other even though she couldn’t speak much English and I couldn’t speak Portuguese at all.

  9. Edyth Says:

    I think the trip to the Favellas was a great addition to the class. It was a good reminder of how fortunate we are living in the U.S and how much good we can still have. I liked the fact that the group pooled together resources so that we could donate to the good work of the volunteers of Morro dos Prazeres… It would have been nice to see more kids and maybe include a volunteer day in our trip.

    Seu João, owner of Cachaça Magnífica had an amazin house, and he was very hospitable. At this point it began to hit me that we were almost at the tail end of our trip and in as much as I didnt want the trip to end, I began to realize that we had our real lives to get back to.

    After we had lunch, we all began to say our goodbyes to one another because we were all going off to do different things.

  10. Perry Says:

    Watching the youngest girl practice capoiera was such a treat. She was adorable and just radiated enthusiasm and energy. All of the kids in the class definitely touched a nerve about every child having the opportunity to grow up with an education and a loving, caring environment.

    Like Sophie, I chatted with Daniela in a mix of Spanish, English and Portugese. It was fun to try to communicate, even though we did not really speak the same language.

    The lunch was certainly an experience. I still want to know if the sauce we ate was really only palm oil and flour. Who knows. It was certainly distinct.

  11. Byong Says:

    Didn’t really know what to expect at the Favellas, but learning that you have to get permission from the Boss to enter the place kind of had me thinking in a certain way. But when I got there I saw some beautiful people trying to change the norm and to bring hope to the children. I was especially moved by the innocent smiles of the little girls, and thought of my little girl and wondered all kinds of things. I wish I could say and believe that things are going to get better for them, but I also know that it would take a lot more time and a whole lot more effort from all over to change what it has been for a long time, but at least it’s a start.

    Well, the last official schedule for the trip was fittingly the Cachaca Magnífica. Cachaca is actually too strong for my liking, but I never turn down free drinks, so a few drinks and a shot and all the worries are gone and you just want to head for the beaches.

  12. Noriyuki Says:

    Today was a last of day of official program. It was kind of sad since I really enjoyed the full program and we needed to go back to Austin soon. Visiting the favela and Cachaca Magnifica was excellent choice to conclude our official trip. I could see the reality of Brazil at the favela while I could taste the national liquor of Brazil, cachaca, in a very relaxed atmosphere at Cachaca Magnifica. After returning to hotel, I went out with fellow colleagues to celebrate the night at the chicken place and drank a lot. It was really a nice day. I really want to do it again if I could.

  13. Chris Says:

    While the lecture at the central bank of Chile was the most educational experience, the visit to Morro dos Prazeres is the most moving and inspirational. Listening to the people at the community center talk about their work helping the kids, I am nearly moved to tears. I reflect long and hard on my own life. While we are all so busy, especially so while in school, there is always time to give.
    The woman teaching capoireilla lessons had the most amazing, powerful voice. When I gave her some candy, she gave me the biggest hug. I could see that she was searching for something to give me in return, and she decided upon the rock she was using to knock her percussion instrument. I won’t soon forget this experience. I love the Brasilian people.

  14. Eunseok Han Says:

    It was unfortunate that I could not join the visit to the favelas due to the team project at FMC. However, we had such prolific time with the FMC gentleman and learned a lesson on how the management of organization behavior in Brazil is important from Julio, who has a lifelong experience of operating in this field.

    Cachaça Magnífica after the FMC presentation gave me a heavenly rest because I was so exhausted from the team meeting the night before, which finished at about 3:30 AM. The old but neat house with one sip of cachaça provided us with the perfect setting to talk with fellow classmates, even about very personal things, which brought people closer together.

    At the last lunch we had together, we ordered several dishes that the guide recommended. When I saw the size of the dish for the first time, I immediately thought that we would never be able to finish. But instead we finished it very fast because the food was amazingly delicious, especially the fish with a special curry. After lunch, I observed the area of the restaurant, and it looked so peaceful and pretty and I was a bit surprised to see a tram is going around in the very narrow and steep alley.

  15. Liliana Says:

    We FMC teams finally did our presentation this morning. Instead of standing in front of the presentation slides, we all sat at the table as if it was another group meeting. And it was a group meeting as I felt that I learned a lot more about supply chain management from John and Nelitto’s feedback. I have to say that before the presentation, I didn’t expect getting much from this project, given I don’t have a background and strong interests in supply chain or oil industry. But the project presentation turned out to be a pleasant surprise! Here, I also want to say thanks to my teammates: Brandon, Hikaru, Nan, and Yung-chieh. So glad we made it.

    Cachaça? Sounds more like some kind of dance or music to me. Being someone who can only have O’Doul’s when it comes to alcoholic drinks (yes, still 0.5% alcohol in O’Doul’s….), I didn’t get to know how Cachaça taste. All I know from what people told me is: It’s strong. So when everyone’s enjoying Caipirinha or Cachaça, I had a glass of tasty agua sem gas. Aside from the drink itself, I like the house surrounded by trees with orchids grow on them, with the old church in the yard. The cobblestone road outside the house reminded me of a little town in Italy. Were it not for Chul who told me about his experience in favelas this morning, I would have forgotten how hard life could be for people living there. I felt grateful for what I have right now after listening to those stories, and I wish I had the chance to visit place like Morro dos Prazeres to give whatever helps I can offer someday.

  16. Paulo Says:

    Being Brazilian and fully aware of the reality of my country bring me, at the same time, the feeling of beeing privileged for having opportunities that not many people in my country have and a wish to share what the experiences and knowledge I have acquires through those opportunities with the less priviledged people in my country.

    So visiting and learning about projects such as the one we saw at Morro dos Prazeres makes me feel happy to see that people are taking actions to improve the situation of children and teenagers and provide them with education and opportunities. It also enhances my desire to also do my part to improve the reality of my country.

    The visit to cachaça magnifica was interesting for me because by talking with seu João and learning about the chalenges he is facing to bring his products to the U.S. I could make a relation to the project we developed for Casa Lapostolle. Of course drinking caipirinhas and nice cachaca is always a pleasure.

    The final lunch was great. Eating moqueca and drinking ice cold brazlian beer, sorrounded by a group of great people, provided the perfect ending for our trip.

  17. Vikas Says:

    It was nice to see that the community has such a positive impact on the community. The movie they filmed was extraordinary. One thing that was incredibly surprising about the Favellas was where it was located, having wonderful views. I was also shocked that the Favellas are empty during the day as mostly all the kids go to school.

  18. Hikaru Says:

    Today, we made a presentation to FMC. The client seems satisfied with our presentation. They said some of our recommendations match their ideas and some of them are new for them. Honestly, I am really concerned about whether our client satisfied with our presentation. The purpose of this project improves their on time delivery. The issue of this project is about operation and usually needs to analyze various kinds of information. However, due to the carnival vacation, we cannot get enough information to analyze. Finally, we can only recommend general ideas. However, these general ideas seem useful for them when it comes to analyzing the problem from another viewpoint.

  19. Kentaro Says:

    Although unfortunately I could not visit the favelas of Morro dos Prazeres, I had a great time at FMC. We prepared the presentation from 5pm to 3am on the previous day even in Rio. With our endeavor, our presentation did not disappoint them! As the subject of the project was operation that was new to me, I learned many new things by utilizing what I learned in a core operation class so far. In addition to the feedback about our analysis, the discussion about human resource management there was very interesting.

    The lunch was also nice. I preferred the beer I drunk among many local beers in Brazil (unfortunately, I forgot its name!). Meal served there was also new to me. It was not too strong taste not too unique. I felt that it matched Japanese taste!

  20. Sarah Says:

    Visiting the Morro dos Prazers favella was one of the most memorable activities in Brazil for me. The trip up to the favella was quite entertaining. It was our first encounter with the lovely Rio traffic, oh and then we got pulled over to check for documentation. Once we finally made it up a steep, winding road and picked up Danielle our guide, we stopped at their community center. The community center was really a breath of fresh air in an otherwise sad area of the city. We visited a dance class and the music studio. Next we went and met the librarian who is also teaching film classes. I really enjoyed seeing the short movie that some of his students had put together. It was really inspiring to see people who care so much about improving their community. It was also a very rewarding experience to be able to give them money to improve their health center. I hope that it will allow them to continue their hard work to improve the area and people’s lives.

    Next stop was the Cachaça Magnífica house. The people were very hospitable and it was nice to spend a few hours relaxing around the pool. Then we made our way down the hill for our last group lunch. Definitely bittersweet. It meant that the trip was coming to an end, but we were off to Buzios the next day!

  21. Yung-Chieh Says:

    My group had presentation today. We had a good discussion with John and Nelitto. I was so glad that some recommendations really impressed them. I would like to thank my team members. None of us concentrate in operation. However, we made it!!!
    After presentation, we went to Santa Teresa to visit Seu João, owner of Cachaça Magnífica. When I watched the video, I was impressed by his insistence on Cachaça Magnífica. Just like how I felt in Casa Lapostolle. Our trip ended up with authentic Brazilian Lunch. I had a great time. Thank you guys.

  22. Gaurav Says:

    This was the last day of our official global trip. I was excited about getting done with the FMC presentation. The two FMC teams went to the FMC plant again in the morning while the rest of the group went to the Favelas. I am a little sad about mssing that visit. Anyways, we were warmly received by Mr Damian Julio and Mr John Boyd, the Director of Operations from Houston, who happened to be at the FMC Rio plant. We made our presentation to them as per the schedule. We received some positive feedback from them on our insights and analysis.

    After the presentation, we went to Cachaca Magnefica. The company sells the most popular Brazilian drink called Cacacha. We had Cacacha cocktails with some snacks. The owner took us into the house and showed us a video on how he started this business. It was a great visit and we took some nice photos. Then, we made our way to the last group lunch. The lunch was big and we shared each serving. The official trip ended here but I must give kudos to Prof Orlando, Sonia and Diego for their meticulous planning, organization and great leadership during the entire trip.

  23. Erin Says:

    Aside from the police harassment on the way, this was a very nice visit. However, with the surrounding sound of “pop, pop, pop” once we entered the community was not an entirely comforting sound.

    In any case, I just want to take another moment to thank everyone for chipping in on the donations for the community center. Raising nearly US$400 to help them improve their clinic was very touching for me to be a part of. I also want to send a special thanks to Paulo for his especially generous donation. In the end, I think it was a perfect way for McCombs students to leave a little something behind in South America as a thanks to all of those who generously gave us their time and energy to make our trip such a huge success.

    I think one of my favorite parts of this particular visit, aside from the gift our group gave, was the urban art that covered nearly every wall. There was definitely amazing talent living in the local communities.

  24. Jason Says:

    After an overnight preparation for the project, we finally went to the FMC and gave them our solution of improving the operation process of making “Christmas trees”. The whole process seemed like an extensive IROM challenge with a South American version. Fortunately, we made our recommendation to Julio and other senior staff of the company, which we believe they’ve got the same direction for the solution as our proposal did, and we exchanged issues related to operational issues as well as managerial insights of the multinational company. Thanks to our team members, Hassan, Gaurav, Kentaro, and Eunseok. We really did a great job in our presentation.
    There is nothing more effective than having some shots of cachaça to restore the energy and recover from the presentation. We went to the Santa Teresa and enjoyed our last group meat. Sitting in the restaurant and looking out the scenery around us, I felt I went back to this city one hundred years ago. The trolley passing by the hill street was full of people hanging outside the car. It looked fun. I hope I would have a chance to explore the city more with a trolley ride.

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