We were planning the whole trip in very intensively for about 3 months. "How many of us are going?" "8. You, me, Nale, Kuba, Míra, Sam, Ondro and Braňo." Mara and I had endless conversations at the preparations. T-shirts white, T-shirts black, T-shirts, T-shirts, T-shirts... and the same story with shorts, sweatpants, flip-flops, caps, backpacks... We simply couldn't underestimate the preparation and we thought everything out to the last detail.
It is November 10, 2021, very early in the morning and we are all meeting at the airport. Each of us has, among other things, an ADVENTURE trampoline in a suitcase!
The first journey after arriving in Brazil leads to the Nale family's coffee farm. In the middle of the coffee plantations, there is a white house with shutters and a large porch where several dogs run around. We are all seeing Nale's parents for the first time in our lives and Nale, who lives permanently in Germany, only visits them once a year. The welcome was incredible. Touching, friendly and full of positive energy. We spent 4 days at Nale's farm, it was a bit of a shock that it rained for all but a few minutes of the 4 days. The rainforest, well. Nale forgot to tell us that. In white T-shirts, flip-flops and shorts, we looked a little ridiculous to ourselves. Still, nothing stopped us from carrying trampolines on our backs around the neighborhood. One of the most beautiful videos was taken right in the coffee plantation, where we were just in that little gap when the sun was shining. Nale's family showed us around and allowed us to be part of typical Brazil for 4 days. What I could really get used to is BANANA NANICA. It's a banana, specifically an "OURO" (GOLD) banana, roasted on a fire. Brazilian banana on fire. You want that.
The goal of the whole journey and the whole JUMPING UNITED is to bring JUMPING to places where it has never been before. Where people don't know it or have never tried it. For example, on our very 1st trip we went to Uganda with trampolines and showed Jumping to children in local schools for poor children. We believe that Jumping brightens up their routine, their lives, and they have the opportunity to "goof off" on something their families could never afford.
Waking up early in the morning and the adventure is on! You guys aren't on vacation, get up and get to work!!! We hopped in the car that took us to the highest accessible point of the waterfall! So trampolines on the back and it's another few hundred metres uphill on foot. Then downhill again and then like chamois down the rock below the waterfall. We handed each other trampolines across the water so we could jump, film and shoot some footage right below the waterfall. Nale and I also went with the trampolines to the football club where Nale started football at the age of 7!! We spent a few hours there. Nale tought Jumping lessons, we played football with the locals and then we all exercised together. Well, it was amazing.
The 4 days with Nale's family are over and we have moved on to Rio de A surprise awaited the team - a rooftop penthouse with a hot tub on the terrace and a view of Copacabana! I wanted to see their reactions, so I followed closely behind them as they opened the door to the Penthouse. Without them, Jumping wouldn't be Jumping and I wanted to thank them as much as possible with this trip and background. Check out their reactions in the video.. In just 8 hours we were there :-D
We set off early in the morning to make the most of Rio. Nale gave us a lecture on our safety - no phone in the back pocket of your pants - actually, no phones even in hands. - stick together at all times - me, as the weaker one, to stay in the middle of the group - not looking others in the eye. - ♪ don't talk to anybody ♪ - not paying anything. Nale has to pay as Brazilian for everything, they'd give us different prices - Follow these guidelines :-D
We went to the "Sugarloaf" mountain with the trampolines, but they they didn't allow us bringing them into the cable car. So we at least checked it out on our own, wearing our team outfits. In return, we blasted the trampolines on the beach below the mountain, where we jumped to the song of this trip: UNITED and many other songs like NEVERLAND :-D
After driving for a few minutes, we pulled out the trampolines on Copacabana, where it's damn alive. Music, Caipirinha, lots of locals, us with a loud speaker and trampolines. That was great!!!
With the trampolines we went as close as possible to the statue of Christ the Saviour. Nale led us to the heliport where the statue dominates the 710 meter high Corcovado mountain right behind our backs. It gives you a little chill! We jumped a few songs here too and took plenty of perfect photos. We absolutely had to go right up to the statue, but of course they only let us go there without trampolines. A little off the subject of Jumping: not having Nale with me, who speaks the local language - Portuguese, I'm still sitting there on a bollard somewhere and crying.
No one speaks English there, not even at the ticket sales. The guy who explains to you which platform of the shuttle bus to go to also only speaks Portuguese. The navigation arrows are also in Portuguese. The coordinators of the chaos: they also speak only Portuguese again. Or if we hit some anti-English line, I don't know.
The statue of Christ the Saviour is monstrous and has embraced and protected Rio for 90 years! The statue is 30 meters tall and stands on a pedestal that is 7 meters high and the distance between the outstretched arms is 23 meters!
The basic rule of thumb when visiting Rio de Janeiro is "Don't go to the favelas. The police doesn't control them and no one can guarantee your safety." Which is a bit absurd when last year alone 120 police officers were killed in Rio and in December 6,600 people died in shootings there. In 2016, there were a staggering 61,000 murders in Brazil, surpassing the estimated annual average of casualties from the war in Syria. While this does not compare, it does speak about the scale of killing in a country that is not suffering from war. Although the Favela has always been home to drug gangs, the criminals have always treated the locals with "respect" and taken their "anger" out on rivals or police informants.
Favela doesn't look too bad from a distance. The steep cliff above the sea is dotted with small colourful houses that look a bit like shoeboxes. Plus, it's only a few minutes' walk from the famous Copacabana beach. Right at the entrance we were warned: NO PHONES, NO PHOTOS and hands visibly in front of you. We actually got to Favela completely by mistake and by complete accident. Nale has a friend and he has a friend and he got us into this controversial place.
Immediately upon entering the Favela grounds, it struck me that this was no "dead" zone with locals lying around in the dirt. On the contrary, it was incredibly vibrant. There are shops crammed into narrow streets, you can get a haircut for a few crowns on the street, and garages will fix your car in a flash. But there's also dirt, drugs and guns. Our car pulled into a narrow and uninviting alley and a man with an automatic rifle walked by. Don't shoot, our "guide" ordered us, and no one doubted that he was deadly serious.
In Favela you see misery and smiles. Dreams of a better future mixed with the grim reality. We are glad that we could be with the Jumping team at this controversial place and show the local children Jumping, let them jump on trampolines, give them lollipops and cookies and play football with them.
With the trampolines we also went to the ANTONIO LIMA football academy. The academy has approximately 1,000 young and small footballers and they do their activities for free for some. The aim is to divert children from life on the streets and fill their free time with football, teach them the principles of fair play and develop a healthy sporting habit. We were at the academy all day. The kids and coaches were jumping around and we played football against each other for the last hour. Who knows, maybe I played with a modern-day Neymar :-)
We also brought a backpack full of lollipops and cookies for the kids. In the video you can see how they fight over the sweets.
I would like to conclude the whole Brazil by saying that JUMPING UNITED in Brazil was incredibly successful. We gave our best to get Jumping to as many interesting places as possible. As a team we bonded again and will work together even better. Jumping has brightened many, many children's eyes and I believe we have learned a lot from each other as well. During the 10 days we were in Brazil, I can say that Brazil is incredibly energetic, full of energetic people and that kind of "Nothing is a problem. We'll make it happen" . We Europeans could learn a lot from this, when our most common word is "wait".
Thanks Brazil! And a special thanks to Nale and his family!