Andressa de Lima

"The first week after moving here I called City Hall every day. 'For God's sake, get me out of here!'"

Coming from
Estrada da Boiúna, 50 Estrada da Boiúna, 50

Now living in
colônia colônia

My name is Andressa Texeira da Silva Lima, I’m 30, and I’m a housewife. I went to a place on social rent, for – I’m not sure exactly – three or four months – and afterwards I came here.

A team from City Hall came, saying that City Hall had this Transolimpica project, and that because of the agreements they had made, they would need a piece of Sao Sebastiao, and that included where our houses were. So they held a meeting there, and at the time that was with Jorge, the deputy mayor, several City Hall departments, and they showed us the plan, doing everything by the book, and we just had to wait. So they went there and measured things, took photos, and they reassured us about everything, that we shouldn’t worry, that the compensation was going to be good, and that we could choose between compensation and an apartment. That we would get white goods, it would include a cooker, a fridge, a bed, none of which has yet appeared.

We just waited. Every day, every month, a different one came, and they opened a dossier, they invited us to City Hall to do our documentation, to put everything in order. They made this dossier, with the name on it of the second road, everything stayed there with them. I even asked for it, but they said we couldn’t have it, as it was at the bank, but we weren’t to worry. Only how can you not worry about it, if you don’t have anything in your hands?

The agreement was the exchange of the house for the apartment. We didn’t have any choice. We couldn’t say “We don’t want to leave, what are you going to do about it.” We didn’t have this option. It was leave, or leave. If you refuse to leave, you won’t get compensation, and you’ll have to go through the Justice System to be able to get compensation. It was like that, through the means of threats. It was great, living there. It’s a sadness, you know?

I miss it a lot. I miss living with people who respected you, the safety of it there. There, I had my main door, I had my own garage, you wouldn’t open the door and meet someone you don’t know. It’s not good living in an apartment. At the beginning, I got depressed. I cried day and night. The first week I moved here, I called City Hall every day asking, for the love of God, take me out of here.

The house had a bedroom with a bathroom, a kitchen that was almost like an American kitchen… These days, I’m better than I was. But still, it was my house, the majority of people there had ownership documents. Many of them had them, but it was ours, we were living there there for years, about 15 years. Everyone was like a family, everyone was from the same place. There is no family in a condominium. My fear is that I’m here as an invader. I am afraid that the company who is responsible for the apartment, or the bank itself, which is the owner, isn’t it? That they will come wanting to take me out as I don’t have a single document. Why are you here? That’s what I said to them, it’s an embarrassment I don’t want to go through. Even the boy who was part of the construction firm said loudly, for everyone to hear, that when we were going in there, that this is for a resident who was crying, that has children, who was there with all her things on the floor, waiting for the removal truck to arrive, it was horrible.

I don’t feel safe to travel and leave my apartment. I don’t have a doorman, the front door downstairs doesn’t close properly, we are totally vulnerable. There is nothing near here, a lot of things were promised to us, that there would be a supermarket, a pharmacy, there are some things nearby, but the quality of life is much lower, than there which is closer to the centre of commerce. Everything here is far away from everything, you know? We found out about some things which are happening here, we heard shots, but you didn’t used to get that there. I’ve got scared to take my children to school. It’s a new thing to get used to. It was a very harsh kind of change. I would prefer to be living in one room with a bathroom, and living in peace. And so can I say to you that I’m living a happy life? No. I want to go back, to my one room with a bathroom, and kitchen, than to be here living this way, through a lack of help, lack of support, and lack of organisation.

It’s embarrassing, to have to keep running after City Hall for something which is our right.

Reporter: Jessica Mota

Photographer: Jessica Mota

My journey

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