Marcio de Souza Ferreira

"It got rid of our identity, our community"

Coming from
Favela Metrô-Mangueira Favela Metrô-Mangueira

Now living in
Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 2 Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 2

I lived there for 29 years. We brought people up there as if it were a family. It was a small community, with shops, everything. It was great, I liked it there. I built my house myself, and it was like a private street. Every year, we had parties for New Year, for Christmas, and we lived well, thank God. We had our problems with basic sanitation, but when I moved there, I found a way, working with the others, to build a kind of basic sanitation system.

When we had to leave, you know, in 2008, 2007, round about then, people had been talking about it for a very long time. We had lived hearing that the community was going to go for a long time. Even when I was building my house, neighbours would say, “Marco, don’t build anything, you’re going to have to go and then you’ll lose it all.” I thought, I won’t lose anything, I’m building my own house. If someone comes wanting me out of here, they are going to have to offer me something. I’m not going to live in sub-human conditions, just because in five years’ time, in 10 years’ time, they are going to take the community out. No, I’m not going to live like that. No one came to the community to bring us together to say “we are going to have to do this, owing to that.” No. They simply went about it in an aggressive way, they just let us know when there were going to be meetings about it. Then we got a letter from them, saying from this week, evictions were going to start.
Thank God, I got offered this. As my house was very big, City Hall took a look and decided to offer me two apartments. We built this here with a lot of struggle. In fact, they wanted to chuck us over there by Cosmos. We didn’t know what to do, but we went into the struggle, pursued it, the Public Defender got involved, and so we won this space here. My house is still there. They started to take people out, without telling the residents’ association. What happened, they started choosing people randomly, instead of in any kind of order. The ones in the middle couldn’t be knocked down, and so they stayed, but people started squatting in the empty homes. I’m close to Maracana, I’m close to everything here. I can get to work in 45 minutes. I work in Barra, but I get the Metro here and I’m there in 45 minutes. Overall, I’m happy. It’s not the same as the house I built, it was huge. I do miss it. Any project that you undertake in life, you make something, and for some reason, if it gets destroyed, you are going to be sad. Suddenly, someone comes and destroys everything you worked for. You lose your identity, your community.

Reporter: Lara Norgaard

Photographer: Lara Norgaard

My journey

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