Maria do Carmo Da Silva
"There in Metrô we had our deed to the house, at least. Here we don't have anything"
Now living in
I lived there for nine years. From there, we came here, just that they said they were going to bring us here, but we often go without water. A lot of things were better there. My house was one room you just walked into. I divided it up with things like the wardrobe. There was a living room, a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom, and a little balcony at the front. It was just me, my husband and my son.
[Why did you move to Metro Mangueira?]
I bought a place there, and we went to live there. And afterwards, City Hall took us out to move here, and knocked it down there.
[Why did they take you all out of there?]
They said it was an area of risk there, because the train was on one side, and the Metro went underneath us.
[Do you think it was an area of risk?]
Well, there was a hole near the Metro, and that was a risk. But I lived there for nine years, and thank God, I never saw anything there. It was close to everything, you got off [the bus] and after a short walk, you were in the house. l lived there for a long time, and I liked it.
[How did you find out they wanted to knock it down?]
They turned up at the house, and on that day I was at work. They arrived and started registering the houses. The first offer was to go to Campo Grande or to Cosmos, and no one accepted that. Some of them went and some stayed, and after they brought us here. They said whether you wanted to leave or not, you would have to go anyway and lose your home, because they wouldn’t give money. So we held a street protest to not have to go to Cosmos, and afterwards they ended up giving us this here.
[Why didn’t anyone want to go to Cosmos?]
It was very far away, and I worked near here, and I didn’t have a way of taking my son to school first. I didn’t know anyone there in Cosmos, so I didn’t go. The alternative really was to come here.
[Weren’t you afraid of losing your house, of losing everything that you had?]
I was. But we had a lot of lawyers here, and we fought until we got this place. On the day of delivering the keys, they called us and people came. I didn’t know about it because I was working, but afterwards they gave people the new houses. I had to go into the city to City Hall, and my name was there, and there were six apartments to choose from. I chose a name, and got this apartment. If you got the key that day, that was the day you had to move. No hanging around. Get your things and go. I called my brothers and my mother-in-law, put everything in the car and off we went. When we got here, there was a leak in the bathroom and in the kitchen. They came to fix it, and we started organising our things. I did the work on the apartment, just now in August. I did all of it.
[Do you pay maintenance fees?]
Yes, Every month I pay.
[And you really think it’s worse here than there?]
It is worse here than there. Although it was a favela, it was much better than here.
Because we didn’t have to pay for water there, some paid electricity, others didn’t. Thankfully I did already pay for electricity, it was just the water I didn’t pay for. But it was difficult to get water there. When you came home from work, there was no water. You always went without water during the day. I knew that, because the boy that stayed at home during the day would tell me there hadn’t been any water. I had to take a shower at work, because at home there wasn’t any. I generally used to fill a bucket up with water so that we wouldn’t have to go without.
[Did you like the view you used to have, or the neighbours?]
I liked my neighbours a lot.
[What happened to your neighbours?]
Some went to Cosmos, some are in Mangueira 2, they were all spread out. Some went to Triagem…
[So this house is yours, you have the keys and the documents?]
No, I don’t have the paperwork for it. City Hall hasn’t given us any documents. They just took us out of there, put us here and said in five years’ time we will get them. City Hall still hasn’t said anything about it. In February, it will be six years since we moved here. They told us we would get the documents after five years, and on another day they said it would be in 10 years. Then no one touched on the subject of documents again.
[Are you worried about that?]
A lot. I really am.
Because in Metro, we had our little bit of paper, but here we’ve got nothing. Nothing.
Reporter: Natalia Viana | Edição Giulia Afiune