Neuza Velasco da Silva
"I went there to City Hall and said: I'm not rowdy, no, I just want what’s mine"
Now living in
My name is Neuza Velasco da Silva, and I’m going to be 66 in August. I lived on the Estrada da Ligacao, behind Ipadu, backing onto 700. But my land was private, and I paid 45 years of taxes there. I paid water, electricity, IPTU, I always paid.
Suddently the highway was being built, they were taking us out of there without any warning…
Ah, my house, my house… My place was lovely, peaceful, quiet… my house was just mine, a huge piece of land. I had my animals there, I had everything. It was enormous. My six children were born there, six children, and my grandchildren, the whole lot was born there.
Where I lived had two floors, and the one above alone had five rooms in it. There was a house alongside it where I put my grandson for a while as he didn’t have anywhere to live. Under that there was another house. They came in, looked at everything, analysed everything, said they would compensate me but offered very little. It was 45 years! 130,00 for that, have you gone nuts? No, I won’t accept it!
So he said to me, then you’re going to go to the apartments, you’re going to choose an apartment. So I got three apartments here, I got three.
My grandson that left there got one, my granddaughter another, and I got one on the first floor. In my apartment, there was no light socket, there was no window, nothing. And so I had to buy a window, I had to put the light socket in, I had to put a curtain in to hide everything there.
Our money, our pension, my girl? It is bill after bill of electricity, gas… I have had three heart attacks, I was admitted to the heart hospital. I’ve got hypertension, I am on medication. And you know, medication for the heart is not cheap.
Ah, my girl, a bulldozer came here, it pulled over. You’re either going to have to leave or we are going to drive it over you. I said: so drive it over me! Drive it over me, I’m not running away. Drive your bulldozer, drive it, I’m staying put.
I said, where’s the mayor? Send him here to talk to us. Aah, that’s what I said! Send him to talk to me while they knock my house down with me in it. So I said… City Hall, no… You’ll have to leave, the truck is here, we’re going to take your things for you, it’s the best thing for you.
So I said, OK, I’m going to my apartment, but I thought I was going to get there and it was going to be like my house. And he said no, we’re going to put you in a rented place. I wasn’t going to go directly here, they said we’re going to put you in a rented place. And I said, what if I don’t have the money for rent? And they said don’t worry, we will pay. But before the rent deadline could run out, I went there and said “give me the rent money! You’re the ones who put me here, took me out of my house.” And the woman said: “She’s here, the rowdy one.” I said: rowdy no, I just want what’s mine!
I stayed there for five months, I never left the house, I didn’t even know the name of the street. After six months, they came, got all my things, made the move, and chucked me in the apartment. My daughter lives here. She said: “Mum, after you left, everything came down. Everything came down. I said, ah, my Jesus!
So many years to build my house, so many years, how much I suffered to help my husband put that house up, how we worked.. I was employed, I mean I was a slave, at TV Globo for nearly 20 years, to help my husband get what we had. And then City Hall came and sent everyone out.
Wow.. ok… there’s a house where I sleep with my husband… when I was married, we stayed in that house, my husband and I.
“There was a little white house, with a balcony…” I said to him, are you going to make this house for me? And he said yes, I will. And he made this little house with a balcony. And I remembered that song a lot. “There is a little white house with a balcony, with a garden and a window.”
And he put in my big window, a huge window, and my enormous garden. I had chickens, and my dogs.
[Do you miss it there?]
And how, my girl. If I could go back in time, I would be there with everything still standing. I would go back today, I would run back. I would find a way to put that cart at my door, even if it had to make 10 journeys. Let’s go back to the hill, up the hill! I would put all my furniture in it and off we go! Up I would go. Ciao, apartment.
Reporter: Natalia Viana
What song reminds you of your old house?