Vaniperes Moreira Carvalho

"People live here so that they don't have to go back to the occupation. But do they like it? No one likes living here."

Coming from
Rua da Gamboa, 111. Ocupação Machado de Assis Rua da Gamboa, 111. Ocupação Machado de Assis

Now living in
MCMV - Condomínio Ayres: Avenida Santa Cruz, 7190, Senador Camará MCMV - Condomínio Ayres: Avenida Santa Cruz, 7190, Senador Camará

The building there was unoccupied for a long time, there was nothing there, just forest. The rent nearby was very expensive, most people couldn`t afford it. We went to speak to the people there, so we could go there, but there were a lot of rats and mosquitoes. It started to grow, until there were about 70 people there. One family would leave and another one would arrive. We cleaned it, and looked after it properly, until City Hall turned up and said the owner wasn`t paying the bills for the building, and that City Hall would take ownership of it. They suggested to give 15,000, or an exchange of one key for another – the key of the house we had there, in exchange for the key to a new apartment.

The majority accepted the apartment, to not end up on the streets, you know. The chat was so lovely, the people were so nice to us, that everyone was delighted, they said they would get companies to bring jobs here, that they were going to build a school here, they would build a creche here. People were so pleased they decided to come, but none of what was offered happened. City Hall came here and promised everyone that they would get an apartment with new flooring, a bed, a fridge, but the apartments were delivered with nothing inside, just the key. None of the promises have yet been fulfilled.

[Do you feel disrespected?]

I do, because they could have come here and not said anything, but he came here and said leave, leave, like he was the owner of everything. At the beginning, the police came and took everyone out, that was what the order was. Then a tractor came, a load of trucks, and we tried to hold on to what was important, that we wanted to keep. The Housing Secretary came and spoke to us there, and gave us 15 more days, and after the 15 days, he came back and most people were working, as he had arrived at 3pm, and there was hardly anyone there.  Everyone called each other, and people ran to another occupation, to make sure they couldn`t get in. One helping the other.

Human rights people came, four lawyers, not to let the police in, and it was a big fight which lasted for a month. They wanted to throw us out onto the streets, to occupy the land,  and we were fighting back, while the lawyers were fighting to get us this here, as we hadn`t got anything at that time. They came to knock down everyone`s home. It was more or less like that that it happened.

[What did City Hall say to justify you all having to leave?]

They said they were going to build a central garage, but they didn`t do anything with the building, and it got invaded again. There are new people living there. They just took everyone out of there, and left it there. It has carried on growing.

[Do you miss it there?]

We miss it a lot. Here it`s tough, we have to leave at 4am. There, we were 20 minutes away on foot. Now, I have to leave at 4am to get there on foot, and work very hard to be able to leave a bit early so I can get home.

[What did you like about it there?]

Everything, everything was nearby, the beach, work, the bus station was near, the airport was near. Everything was near, here nothing is near. Everything is far away, you can see that. There is the train, there is the bus, but everything is far away. We live here so as not to have to go back to the occupation, but like it? No one likes it here. If you ask in all 36 apartments here, 80% will tell you they don`t like it. The majority have already sold theirs, because they went back and got somewhere back down there.

Reporter: Giulia Afiune

Photographer: Giulia Afiune | Edição: Mariana Simões

My journey

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