Hevelyn Sumaia dos Santos Costa
"They went and put us here as though it meant nothing"
Now living in
[When did you leave Metro Mangueira?]
It was round about 2005. Where I lived wasn’t mine, it belonged to my mother, but afterwards she handed it to me. We built it all with our sweat. I lived there for many years, then City Hall let us know [we would have to leave]. The removal truck was there for us to put our things in for the move, and we were supposed to collect our keys for here at the same time. You picked it up from the door, and went in. It was quick, they took us out quickly.
I was one of the first to come, but when we arrived, half of the apartments didn’t have any energy, my neighbour didn’t have any. Mine already had energy, thank God, but some had to call to get Light to come and resolve it. I like it here more than my house, because it is close to UERJ, and Maracana. In the old house, you could see Maracana, but I can’t anymore. But it’s good here, you can walk over there if you need to pay a bill or something. The only think I like here is the house itself. The rest, there isn’t much to like. They said we would get a Minha Casa, Minha Vida [government housing scheme] place, and we would pay 50 reals at the bank. But they decided not to charge us that anymore. We’ve been here now for four years, soon it will be five, and they still haven’t given us the deeds for our house. City Hall still hasn’t given us that.
When I first came to live here, my energy bill was 200, 300 , even 500 reals for two months. There was no way to pay. And the maintenance charges are 50 reals, I think that is absurd. They had to reduce it, because they are making money out of the people, it’s not right. It was different there, we didn’t pay anything, and our houses were ours. That’s the only thing I miss, that I didn’t have to spend all my time paying. I did pay my energy bill, but it wasn’t the absurd sum it is now. They just chucked us here like it was nothing, they just let it happen.
Reporter: Lara Norgaard
Photographer: Lara Norgaard