Deis Aparecida Alves

"I'm afraid I'll close my eyes and my family will be left to live on the streets."

Coming from
Vila União de Curicica Vila União de Curicica

Now living in
Minha Casa Minha Vida Parque Carioca - Estrada dos Bandeirantes, 7276 Minha Casa Minha Vida Parque Carioca - Estrada dos Bandeirantes, 7276

My previous address was Estrada de Curicica, 206. My name is Deis Aparecida Alves. I lived there with my granddaughter and my son, and afterwards he got together with a woman, and he divided his time between here and there. When I came here, there was no space anymore, as it’s small here. There, I had space, you could close the door to the bedroom or go upstairs. There, I had a garden, and it was three floors. It was big, I had all my plants there, everything. At first, I went to the first block, but there was a problem with the shower, so they called me to come here, where it was all empty – it was that time when people invaded it here, in Colonia, so they called me to come here, where the shower was already working. It was just me and the granddaughter, because of the size here, they wouldn’t let anyone else live here.

I fought a lot, working in the middle of the night, running through the streets in the middle of the night past drug dealers and criminals. I left the house just after 3am to go to work. I left my granddaughter, who was only seven years old, for me to go to work. One time, I was working in the city centre, and I earned one thousand, one thousand 700, but once you had discounted for travel, healthcare, food, it just left 1,200. They only accounted for the gross amount, so I couldn’t put it in my name, I put it in my son’s name. So it’s mine, but it’s not mine, because if my son’s wife wants it, if they separate, and she wants to sell, I am going to have to live under a bridge somewhere. Even after I pursued it so much, to get my things.

I ended up submissive, I am obliged to tolerate it because now there is this business with the Caixa [bank], that will only be over after five, 10 years. I ended up praying to God, if I get sick, if they have to massage my chest… I am afraid that if I close my eyes, I’ll wake up and they’ll have turfed everyone out onto the streets. My granddaughter will be on the streets, and he’ll be there, because I don’t know what he’ll do with his money…

I came here, and I’m not saying it’s been bad. But I couldn’t leave my name, because for as long as I’m alive, I’ve got somewhere to stay. When I knew they were building something, I went there to put my name down. I went there to find out and she said she hadn’t said anything, but she had said it. But what are you going to do?

So now, I’m here, I was sent away, the money I received went on things for the house, because I arrived here with just the clothes on my back. There had been a flood there in the old place, and when I arrived from work, all the things I had bought were floating on top of that stinking water. Afterwards, they started to mess around with the river because of the Olympics, and it reduced the flooding there. Ok, great, I came here because of the Olympics, I’m here, but in this situation. I said, what is mine? I spent the money I received – it was 14, 15,000, about that. No, that wasn’t it, it was 13,000 and a bit. I spent that on a new flooring, sorted things out here, and that’s all I have. I have a wardrobe which is mine because it was separated from the other things, but I’m not going to cry about all this. Just that I feel they could have put this in my name. As they said they couldn’t, the fight began. I tried to get some paperwork from my work, but they didn’t accept it. They didn’t give me any choice, they just gave me 54,000, and that was put up to 56, 57, but it didn’t get up to 58,000. I said that wasn’t what I wanted, and waited for the response. They ordered me to wait for months – it wasn’t a short period of time – and they didn’t offer me any choice. Just that it got to the point, I think they were in a hurry, they gave me this choice: either I could take the money, or get someone to put this place in my name. They didn’t accept the salary I was getting.

They gave me 54,000 but what am I going to buy with that? There were some people who got more, but I didn’t use the militia, I didn’t go after anyone, like a lot of people did. Some got a million reais, others 800,000. Another one got 340,000 and an apartment. What they gave me wasn’t enough, and I didn’t want money. I asked them just to give me a corner to stay in. Because I’ve lived a lot on rent, and it’s sad having to pay rent. Your rent gets up with you, goes around with you, doesn’t leave you alone… not even your husband does that. Rent, my son, is problematic. I didn’t want to live in a rented place, so I accepted it.

My life here is going to the school and back, going to the shops on the street. There in the old place, no one bothered you. Here, you can hear this shouting of children, hellish, but now with this new apartment management team, let’s see what happens. It’s the same here, no one messes with you, but I keep myself to myself, as there are people from all over the place here. There, if someone came from outside, you knew about it, but it’s not like that here. There are people here from [favelas] Parada de Lucas, Visconde de Carvalho, I don’t know where, and some have rented their apartments out, so you don’t know where those people are from. It’s the same as it was there.

I miss my space, my things, you know. I could have my plants there, my little garden. I used to sow my parsley there, here you can’t do that. In my house, in my little corner, I knew I could do what I wanted, and I could build upstairs on the second floor for my son, somewhere he could live with this woman of his, without having to live elsewhere. I could rent it out and get some income. Things were easier there. I was able to buy medicine, go from one place to another. When I came here, I lost the right to go to that health centre. You have to go to that one up in Vargem Grande, To get medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, you have to wait for three months now. You have to go there again then just to get a prescription.

Reporter: Lara Norgaard | Edição: Paulo Roberto Junior

Photographer: Lara Norgaard

My journey

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