Sonia Braga

"I was moving out and they were already entering, already breaking things"

Coming from
Rua Harmonia, 4, Vila Harmonia Rua Harmonia, 4, Vila Harmonia

Now living in
MCMV - Condomínio Terni: Estrada dos Caboclos, 1185, Campo Grande MCMV - Condomínio Terni: Estrada dos Caboclos, 1185, Campo Grande

My house was… my kitchen was big, there was a bathroom, living room, bedroom, and a small balcony at the front. I left it on 18 November, 2010. It wasn’t something where they told you what was going on and made people aware. They only came twice to my house, and measured it. They didn’t say anything, but everyone was commenting, but they weren’t certain. Even people who had lived here a lot longer than I had didn’t expect them to do this. My son said to me, I had already gone out and he said to me, come home today, because we are going to have to leave on Monday. and I said, what? What’s this? How can you move from one place to another, when you don’t even have boxes to put your things in, we weren’t told about anything before. That’s the way City Hall dealt with us, as if we were dogs.

They had already taken me out, and they had gone in, breaking everything. It was very wrong what they did, very wrong.

A lot of people had done reform work on the houses where they lived. I had put new floors down, in my kitchen, and spent money on a staircase. The girl had closed off her land, as I used to go out through her garden. But they estimated my house as being worth 14,000 reals. With 14,000, I was thinking – where am I going to buy another house? Nowhere. So it was the preference of a lot of people, as what they were given wasn’t enough to buy a place, they had to accept a new house.

You had the choice of accepting a new house, or accepting money, and what were you going to do with the money? Buy another one? It wasn’t enough to buy another house. I don’t know today, because we still haven’t received the documents for the house.

[You don’t have anything?]

No. We have a piece of paper, but that doesn’t even prove that the house is ours. This here says that after five years, they will give another document to us. Now I’m just waiting, because I think it’s already five years, isn’t it?

I miss the sense of peace, I miss the beach, because in 10 minutes I used to be on the beach. Here, throughout the whole summer, I’ve never been to the beach, because it’s far away. Everything is far away from here. If you go out that way to get something, it’s still forest. I arrived here, and until I got the job selling Avon products, I asked God to come before me at 1am, because we get scared here. There is no one in the streets, there aren’t many streetlamps, to shine light on things. You get frightened. The moment when you most need a motorbike taxi down below, there aren’t any. It’s difficult.

Here, there was no bus, there were no vans. How am I going to send my son out in the middle of the night, in a deserted place? My son stopped going to school. City Hall said they would put on a bus, but they didn’t, and he ended up not going to school for two years.

How old were you when you studied in Novo Leblon?

[son] I was in the fifth grade, I think. I liked it there. Afterwards, I came to live here, and I regret it a bit, coming to live here. To get to school, you have to get up very early. To get the bus it was bad.

What improvements did we get? Not one.

Reporter: Giulia Afiune e Mariana Simões

Photographer: Giulia Afiune e Mariana Simões | Edição: Lara Norgaard

My journey

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