Anderson Nascimento

"I ended up in a place that's at the ends of the earth"

Coming from
Rua da Gamboa, 111. Ocupação Machado de Assis Rua da Gamboa, 111. Ocupação Machado de Assis

Now living in
MCMV - Condomínio Ayres: Avenida Santa Cruz, 7190, Senador Camará MCMV - Condomínio Ayres: Avenida Santa Cruz, 7190, Senador Camará

It’s a long journey. I managed to stay for six months in an occupation in the city centre. It was during that time that City Hall arrived asking for the space of the land where we lived. They didn’t say anything about the Porta Maravilha project, they just said they were going to build a square, as there wasn’t one there in the neighbourhood at the time. There still isn’t.

[They said it was going to be a square and some parking?]

There still isn’t either of those things.

It got to the point where we hardly slept, because we knew the day was coming when we would see municipal guards, police and everything, wanting to take everyout out of their homes to take the place over.

So it was a lot of sacrifice to get the maximum number of people together for the fight, even taking it to City Hall, to [mayor] Eduardo Paes. I was one of the people who went to all the meetings at City Hall. So every day they would go to the piece of land to see if more people were coming to live there, because only those already living there would get a house or social rent.

When we came to live here, what hit home was the distance. Instead of being in the city centre, where everything was nearby, everything close for you to get around, we were in a place which really was the end of the world. For some people who still haven’t got used to it here, it is very difficult. To arrive here and have to get the train at 4, 5 in the morning, completely full, and to come back at six, seven at night – with the train full too, or to get stuck in the traffic at Avenida Brasil – it’s a pain.

Have a got a car these days? I do. It’s a little car, but I’ve got one. These days, I do something different for a living, I work as a DJ, I’ve got my parties to do, things I didn’t have there. For me, there was a difficult side because of the distance, but the good side was I’ve got things now I didn’t used to have there. For better or worse, I’ve got my apartment, and whether I want it or not, this is mine. That was the case there too, I built what I had with a lot of sweat and sacrifice. I did all that alone. So for me, it’s better here and it isn’t, because I’m still not used to it.

I occupied that land at the very beginning of 2012. I had been living in a rented place, but I couldn’t take it anymore, a friend called me to try and live with him, so I went. I just went with my face and my courage.

[What was it like when you got there? What did it have, what was missing?]

Trees, rubble, rubbish, sewage, a lot of rats… Everyone got their little space and started to tidy it up. My house always had two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom. I had a little terrace that I built. But some people had difficulties there, some houses were just made out of wood.

I went through a lot of things that no one would want to go through. Not even I had been through that before: police at my front door. There was a part of that land which was run by drug gangs, but we were here and they were over there. But police would come onto the land and call us things they didn’t need to.

At the time I worked, and I lived there with the mother of my children in there. Living with the others was 10 out of 10, everyone was friends with each other there. So much so that when we came here, it was in 2012, 196 families came, but now it must be no more than 40, 50 families at the most, because people liked it so much they went back to where they had come from. Even I had built a life for 22 years there.

[But if you lived there for 22 years…]

Just in the city centre. I lived in Rua de Acre, in Porta Maravilha, and in the occupation.

There are some things you don’t have here. Just in the day to day, you’ll say “Hi, hi, how are you” and that’s it. In the city centre, it wasn’t like that. You’d pull up a chair in a bar and chat about everything. You’d go to a square – it wasn’t the Porta Maravilha in those days – and get on well with everyone.

[What has most changed in the port zone?]

For me, it’s just the prettifying of it. It won’t go back to the way it was before after a certain time. They are trying to restore it to the way it was in the past, in fact. When time goes by, it will go back to how it used to be. The only thing they’ve changed is its appearance – it’s now pretty. That Olympic City square is where they used to have parking, where we used to play ball or ride our bikes. Nowadays, you can’t play football there but you can ride a bike or skate. But in the future, there won’t be people watching over it for 24 hours a day. So it is going to go back to how it used to be, it will be left to God’s will.

 

Reporter: Giulia Afiune | Edição: Giulia Afiune

My journey

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