Sandra Vargas Itaboraí

"My God, one day I'll have my own house that isn't a little wooden shack"

Coming from
Metrô Mangueira Metrô Mangueira

Now living in
Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 1 Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 1

Sandra Vargas Itaborai, 61, self-employed

I arrived in Metro in 1987. I managed to put together some savings, and I bought a two-bedroom house. It didn’t have an inside bathroom when I bought it. I remember at the time it was 12,000 cruzeiros. I moved, I was living in Meier at the time in a wooden shack, alone. After my mother died, I stayed in other people’s houses for a while. I went on my way, working, staying at their places. It got to the point where it wasn’t going well, so I went to stay with my family.

I will have been here for five years in February. It’s excellent here. It’s much bigger… in the old place, all I paid for was the energy bills, but here I have to pay maintenance fees, and they have put a water meter in, which we didn’t have before. Last month was my first water bill, and I only earn the minimum wage but I can’t work, as I am looking after them. There, I just paid for the energy I used, we didn’t pay for the water as it hadn’t been legalised. I just paid for the energy. I had my life there – I would go out to work, then come back at night. 
City Hall came by and put numbers on all the houses, I don’t remember exactly why. They were going to take us out because of the works… because of the World Cup, you know? I still don’t have the right documents for it, but that is supposed to happen after a certain number of years. For me, it was for the best, it is much bigger, much tidier here. Although where I lived was small, I used to live well. I do miss it sometimes, as I lived for so many years there. I still go back sometimes, to a bar which was right next to where I live, that’s still there.

Reporter: Mariana Simões

Photographer: Mariana Simões

My journey

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