João Antunes Souza Filho

"The elite are coming and the poor that live there have to leave."

Coming from
Vila Harmonia Vila Harmonia

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

Joao Antunes Souza Filho, 66, builder

When I arrived in Vila Recreio 30 years ago, it was just long grass. There were only fishermen and the church, at that time. That’s what it means to be poor, you don’t stay in one place.

There were no conditions for the poor there to pay taxes, to pay for a mansion. There is no  way, on my builder’s salary. We bought the rights to our homes cheaply, but the rich are arriving, and the poor who live there have to leave. There is no other way.

What I think is bad about living here is all the driving. Because we had everything at our fingertips there: services a short walk away, a supermarket, everything close by. You got on your little bike and you could reach a beach. Not here. You have to drive for hours to get anywhere.

The exchange wasn’t so bad: property for property, it was ok. It was two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and my son’s house, on the same piece of land. That also had two bedrooms, a living room, and a little balcony. The land was big, 25 by 30.

It was the Housing Department. They came here to let us know, going from house to house. It was like this: either an exchange, or they evaluated how much the resident wanted in money to move. Or you exchanged one house for another. That’s what it was. We exchanged ours for this here. They knocked our house down and took out everything properly: a removal truck came, and they took out all our furniture carefully – the television, fridge – the move was well done. The exchange was very good.

From there, we didn’t have a way of getting here. For anyone who lives in Recreio it’s the same. In 10, 20 years time, we’ll have to move again.

In the past, if you went to Campo Grande, you wouldn’t see another car on the road. Now, you end up stuck in traffic for two or three hours. What’s it going to be like in 10 years’ time? When I arrived in Recreio 30 years ago, you would go to the bay where the buses went and after 11pm, there were no more buses. You would have to go up on foot. There were no cars, nothing. It was a little house far away from everything.

[What was it like to have worked on these construction sites, and then when they got close to where you were, you had to move out?]

That’s the way it is, what are you doing to do? The rich are in charge. If you can afford it there, you buy something. But just the taxes alone… there is no way.

Reporter: Mariana Simões, Natalia Viana

Photographer: Mariana Simões

My journey

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