João Félix dos Santos

"My house was a dream, you know? Because I made that house with a lot of work, a lot of effort, I built it the way I wanted it. I thought I was building the house I was going to have for the rest of my life. But it really wasn't"

Coming from
Rua Francisco Lane, 32, Vila Autódromo Rua Francisco Lane, 32, Vila Autódromo

Now living in
Rua Julio Velenepe, SN (container) - Vila Autódromo Rua Julio Velenepe, SN (container) - Vila Autódromo

My name is Joao dos Santos, I’m 59 years old, and I’m a general services assistant.

[Do you know what your previous address was?]

Rua Francisco Lane, 32

[And now?]

Now I’m here with her, my wife. It was Nelson Piqui, number 9. Now I’m here in this container while they build the house they said they are going to build.

[Did you live anywhere else before you came here?]

Before I got here I was living in a rented place.

[And what was your house like?]

My house was great. I did it slowly, with a lot of work. But…

[We were talking about what your house was like.]

My house was a dream, you know? Because I made that house with a lot of work, a lot of effort, I built it the way I wanted it. I thought it was the house I was going to have for the rest of my life. But it really wasn’t.

[And who lived with you?]

I lived, actually, I lived practically alone.

[And how long did you live there for?]

In Vila Autodromo, I’ve lived for 25 years, but in that house for 14, 15 years.

[And you lived there before you moved to this house?]

I did.

[Here?]

Yes, here. Because my mother worked in a family’s house here, and I lived with her because at that time, there wasn’t enough money to buy. I bought later on, and came to live here.

[How did you find out that you were going to be evicted?]

Aah, when these people from City Hall came to mark out the houses, saying that we would have to leave because of the Olympic Games, and that the Mayor needed it to be mapped out because of works and the Olympic Park. And that we would be evicted.

[How was the eviction process?]

The eviction process was very “off”, because they came here and did a certain type of thing, they turned residents against each other. We were like a family here, we looked out for each other’s houses, that’s the way we always were. Then they came and disunited us.

[But how do you mean? Can you give us an example?]

Because… you’re my neighbour, you want to leave and I don’t want to. So he would tell you that you can’t leave because of my house, because I don’t want to make a deal. So neighbours started to fall out with each other.

[Did you see your house being demolished?]

I didn’t see it because I left before.

[Why did you decide to leave before?]

To tell the truth, I didn’t know if I would be able to resist looking at it. So to avoid the upset, I left before.

[But what did you feel when you knew that your house was going to be demolished?]

In truth I felt a lot of sadness, a lot of things, but I saw myself in a situation where I didn’t have any other option. Because he said they were mapping out the Olympic Park, that they needed to because of the Olympics, that I was on a decree, that I would have to leave one way or the other, you know? I could have gone to the courts, but I left.

[What did you receive in return?]

They paid me 261,000 but I couldn’t buy anything with that money.

[With that money, you couldn’t find somewhere to rent, nothing?]

I could have found something to rent, but in truth, I didn’t want to rent. I wanted to have my own house that I had fought to build. So I didn’t want to live in a rented place.

[And what is your situation like today? Where are you living? And with who?]

Today I live with Dona Suely. Because, as I said to you, she had her house and I had mine. We lived in a divided up house, we live together but I had the house divided up. Just that the situation didn’t work out for us to buy a house.

[The compensation money wasn’t enough?]

It wasn’t enough.

[So today you are sharing?]

Yes.

[Thinking about the house you used to live in, what do you miss most?]

Ah! I miss it, because it was a house which I built to my taste, because it was a house that I felt happy to be in.

[What could you see through the window?]

I could see the lake, I went on to my terrace and I could see all of Rock in Rio, everything that was good I could see through there. There was one day I wasn’t doing anything, I climbed up and sat there on my terrace, at night it was, it was hot, I would go and sit there at will… I could see the whole landscape of the lake.

[Can you describe a good time that you had there?]

A good time, I’ll tell you about that… I think for me, the whole time I lived there, worked there, I think for me, after everything that went on – firstly, I lost my job, I was unemployed, I couldn’t get another job. For me, the good times there were just being there, it was always good.

[Is there a piece of music that makes you remember your house?]

No, there isn’t. No piece of music, no.

[voice in the background] yes there is, Joao. You were always listening to music.

No there isn’t.

[A piece of music that you always listened to in the house, if you want to sing a little bit of it…]

Hahaha no, there isn’t! No!

[Ok, thank you Joao, that’s it.]

Reporter: Domênica Soares e Gabriela Salim

My journey

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