Rosevelt Abi Rodrigues

I don’t demand a lot out of this situation. I just want my own space. And to carry on the struggle"

Coming from
Avenida Francisco Bicalho, 49, centro Avenida Francisco Bicalho, 49, centro

Now living in
rua do livramento, centro rua do livramento, centro

Montanheiras was a building owned by Docas, on Francisco Bicalho road. We got together and occupied it. About 50 families installed themselves there. We divided it up, more or less proportionately, and went to fight against all kinds of things. We stayed for nine years, as this was an abandoned building before and was used for lots of clandestine activities: drug dealing, a whole loads of things. With our presence there, obviously we brought a certain level of order to the place. We even managed to create some order outside the building. We managed to keep things under control and stayed there throughout those nine years, until the Porta Maravilha thing started.

Because of this, at the final moment City Hall de-occupied this community – I’ve forgotten the name – and brought them to stay there in the Francisco Bicalho region. This shocked practically the whole structure of the occupation. We started leaving, didn’t we. We started leaving bit by bit as we were being threatened. Threatened… You had your phone in your hand, and they would say: who are you calling? You know? Little things like that.

At first, I went to a friend’s house. Afterwards I went to rent a place in Rua do Livramento, through social rent, that was given by City Hall. I got 400 reals. Here you can get something, in Rua do Livramento. Here, mainly for older people, with problems getting transport, health problems, you can still get some resources, such as the family clinic here.

It’s a one-room house, very old. It’s working out here. My old house was twice, three times bigger than this. It was very peaceful, and my door was open every day. Here, I can’t do that. I would be risking getting robbed in my sleep.

I don’t demand a lot out of this situation. I just want my own space. And to carry on the struggle. We are many things: community cooks, a joint cleaning group, watching out for each other… we have all this within the rules.

The occupation brought many good things, in all aspects.  I taught the children to play chess, it was political. I had such a great love for them. It was like we were all their parents, you know? It was a shame…  

Reporter: Natalia Viana

Photographer: Natalia Viana

My journey

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