Marcia da Silva

"We're the slave of City Hall, we have to follow their orders"

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

Now living in
rua adauto botelho, colônia rua adauto botelho, colônia

They always said we would have to leave Sao Sebastian. For more than 30 years, they said we would have to go because of some construction works, a highway, then one fine the news arrived… Thiago Rabinez, Raminez, the deputy mayor before Alex, he held a meeting in the Sao Sebastian Church, and showed us who was going to have to leave. My house was one of the main ones, because the road was going right through it. The compensation was very small, it wasn’t enough to buy a house with, so people were automatically obliged to accept an apartment.

So we decided to choose an apartment. I had been living there for more than eight years, and my husband was born and brought up there. My husband was from there, he had been a resident there for more than 35 years, 34 years, and my mother-in-law had lived there for more than 50 years.

His great-grandfather who is in his 90s moved there when he was 15-years-old, so it’s like this, now my mother-in-law is ill, she’s depressed. Her aunt had a heart attack and died, it all happened in December, in that rush to leave, the police hitting us. “Ah! the police are going to beat you, you’ll have to leave, you have to leave,” there was a lot of pressure on us, everyone running for it.

They put us on social rent, of 400 reals, but no one could find anything for that. They registered us for this place to move here, but on the supposed day of the move the removal van never came, they had lied to us, they weren’t going to move us at all. So everyone came here, we insisted with the deputy mayor, they gave us our keys and we moved in, with permission from City Hall. Marli said we would be here for a month, and the Housing Secretary said on the 10th a contract would arrive, but it still hasn’t, and now we are known as the invaders. Anyone who doesn’t have a contract is known as an invader.

The only thing we have as proof that we lived on the social rent is a cheque, but other than this we have nothing. I went to the bank to do something on my account, and found that my name was tied to the value of the apartment. But I haven’t signed a single document. Not one. Was it for 77,000 or 75,000? It was 75,000 reals I think. I saw it with my daughter, and she entered into a state of shock. My daughter is only three, she dreamed they were destroying her house, and ended up having to get psychological treatment. Even now, she says “Hey, Mum…” Ah, it’s difficult.

Where I lived was a good place, I didn’t live in a favela. And even if it were a favela, there was order, it wasn’t like that. They threw us out, then said “now it’s your problem.” The only ones who could deal with it were the deputy mayor of Barra’s officials. If you go to the City Hall, they don’t know anything about the deputy mayor of Barra. There is no communication, and we are stuck in the middle. Things break but you can’t fix anything because you don’t have a contract, you have to spend money to pay someone to fix it; you want to improve things but at the same time, you don’t know if you can because you don’t know if you have permission, if you’re going to have to leave. Where I lived it wasn’t like that, it was a big family. Everyone was family. I used to leave my door open, go to the supermarket and back, but here it’s not like that. Here they stole a boy’s bike, they broke my husband’s car into bits. Here, the door is broken – everything gets broken here. And at the moment we can afford a car, we can’t buy it because we have a bad credit rating at the SPC. Think about that. Our live was there. My daughter used to play the whole day in the garden. There was a garden, there was space, we left our whole lives there. Our lives, with our children. The worst of all, I could have sold my house and bought something better, or done some works on it. We can’t sell it here because we have no documents. We can’t sell it, we can’t do anything. We are slaves of City Hall, we have to do what they want.

Reporter: Jessica Mota

Photographer: Jessica Mota

My journey

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