Damiana Catanduva de Andrade
"I miss my work. After so many years working I'm unemployed now and I'm a bit lost"
Now living in
I was a shopkeeper, I worked in the bakery in Vila Autodromo. There was a bakery there, very close to my house. I used to get up at 5am and join in the daily rush. My house in Vila Autodromo was a house which I loved. Here, there was a balcony, there to one side there was a garage, on the first floor was another balcony, where there were bedrooms too, a bathroom, and a terrace at the top.
This, my oldest child, who was sitting here, he said when he left Vila Autodromo he didn’t come straight here. He didn’t want to come. I sent a message to him on WhatsApp: son, come here, so finally he came. When he got here, I opened the door, and said “welcome to your new home.” and he cried. He hugged me, and we both cried. I didn’t believe that I was going to leave that place. People used to say it was just a threat. I never believed in it. So, he got his mandate, said he was going to remove Vila Autodromo, but he finished his first mandate and he hadn’t managed it. This time, he managed it, and – I’ll tell you this – it’s because he’s got no pity. He put a lot of money into it.
I tried to make a deal just for money, compensation, because I didn’t want to come here.
[What did they offer you?]
600. When I went there for the money, they gave me just 10 days to leave. I said to them, I’m not going to be able to buy a house in 10 days. They were pressuring me to leave. So I said ok, you give me an apartment, and I’ll go there while I’m looking for a house. It’s not that easy to find a house. So they gave me an apartment to go to while I looked for a house. I believe that the apartment is mine. They gave it to me, I signed a contract, but now a letter has come from the Caixa Economica bank, for us to pay. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
When I went to City Hall, they said it was a problem in City Hall, and they would sort it out. It’s difficult, we had our whole lives in that place. Afterwards, they dispersed us all over the place. You can’t compare it with Vila Autodromo. I miss my work, I lost it after I left Vila Autodromo. So many years of work, and now I haven’t got any. I am a bit lost. I miss my neighbours, it was wonderful, it was a family. And the space. My friend Neise who lives at the top here, we go months without seeing her. She goes past here but the door’s closed, and no one sees each other. You only see someone if you ring their doorbell to go and visit them.
There it wasn’t like that, people had their doors open. It was a community, you know. My whole family lived there. Here, there is a football pitch and a swimming pool, but they never come down. I won’t stay here forever. God willing, I am just passing through – it has alreayd been eight months here. I’m going to buy a house, as it’s bad living here if you’re used to living in a house. But if I could choose, I would go back there. It’s that thing, when you get used to something. It’s different, you feel love for that place. You end up getting attached to it, even if you shouldn’t. You know you’ve got to leave, but the memory stays with you.
Reporter: Giulia Afiune e Natalia Viana
Photographer: Giulia Afiune | Edição: Lara Norgaard