Antonio Jose Zacarias da Silva

"It’s a good place. But the problem is we are controlled here"


Coming from
Rua Ipadu, 700, Curicica Rua Ipadu, 700, Curicica

Now living in
Minha Casa Minha Vida Colonia Juliano Moreira Minha Casa Minha Vida Colonia Juliano Moreira

I work as… sometimes I work in construction, as an assistant. Sometimes I work with a cart, with my little horse. I take rubble away, a lot of things. I do house moves, I work with scrap…

City Hall went there, registered us, and said they were going to knock down the warehouse, that this highway they were building was going to go through it. That we should stay alert, because we were going to get an apartment here. And so we waited and waited, but then the time came that City Hall arrived and really did give everyone an apartment. We were living on social rent. They knocked down our homes and until the apartment was ready, that’s how we lived, with them paying for it. City Hall paying the rent.

They turned up and told everyone they had a week to leave, but we had to find a place to live, we had to get the social rent, you know? A place closer to the children’s schools and City Hall would pay. So that’s what we did: we went after the rent. It was from one hour to the next, we didn’t have a lot of hope.

They turned up and said “Oh, tomorrow you are going to have to leave, do you get it? We are gonig to knock all this down.” And I said “OK, but where are we going to go?” So they said “You have the right to go after social rent, and City Hall will pay for it.” And me “Just like that, from one moment to the next?” It was from one moment to the next, they took us by surprise. So we went out at night looking for somewhere to rent. It took us more than a month to find somewhere to rent. They kept on promising to give us this apartment, then nothing. I kept on going to City Hall, and nothing. Then one day everyone got together because of the rent, there were people who didn’t want to pay anymore. So that’s how it was, going to City Hall who sent us here.

The bulldozer knocking down the whole warehouse… I was thoughtful. I said: “It’s quick to knock it down, but building it is difficult.” A lot of people didn’t want to go. But if I hadn’t left, they would have driven over me. So we left our house. And now there is this eviction letter. I’ve received two letters so far. I don’t know what to tell you about the letters because I don’t know how to read, it’s my wife who can read. I know what’s written in them is the word “eviction.” You are going to have to move out of the apartment and it looks like it’s come from the bank. Nobody knows what to do. We are just holding onto the letters, we’ve got two already in the house.

It’s a peaceful place, a place you can stay in all night, go out, come back… it’s a good place. A spacious place, good, but the problem is we are controlled here.

Compared to how we used to live, it’s great here. Here there are two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, bathroom, you know? Where I used to live, there was only one room. There was no space for children to play, we were like prisoners. This condominium has a certain time you are allowed to play. You can’t listen to music late at the weekends, because the residents complain. The children can’t play in the street until late. They can’t play unti l10pm, 11pm, because someone will come and take them inside. What I mean is you’re a prisoner, you’re not free, no.


Reporter: Natalia Viana

My journey

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