I came to Rio for six weeks as part of a volunteer programme to mentor young entrepreneurs, but as I get ready to leave, I am very aware of just how much I have learned during my stay here. It’s fair to say that when I arrived I was more than a little wound-up (as my lovely, straight-talking teammate pointed out to me, as only a South African with Dutch, German and Greek influences can). I hadn’t thought it was that obvious but it was time to relax and go with the flow.
It’s my final week in Rio as a Social Impact Consultant with _SocialStarters and time to wrap things up with my client, Horta Inteligente. Over the past six weeks we have worked together on a number of things – defining the product offerings, pricing, market research, website, business presentation – and this week we need to get everything finished, or at least into a state where I can be sure that Elisa can complete any outstanding elements when I’m gone.
I have been looking at The Two Brothers from the comfort of Ipanema beach for the past six weeks. They’re impossible to miss, rising majestically from the sea with the favela, Vigigal, clinging to the slopes. But as I slogged up the last steep section, I did wonder at the wisdom of deciding to make this famous trek a) nursing a slight hangover from the samba party the night before and b) with two athletic young ladies half my age and with legs twice the length of mine. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy. It is definitely a tricky ascent, but when you make it to the top you are rewarded with a view of Rio that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
I knew that Brazil was big but I had no idea just how big! It started to dawn on me when I looked at booking some internal flights and realised that it took days to get anywhere – although that is also a slight reflection on the lack of a comprehensive national flight network. Still, Brazil really is vast and holds many records when it comes to size. Here are my top 5 amazing, size-related facts.