Paulo Cezar de Paula

"No, we're not allowed to live in the center of the city. Poor people aren't allowed."

Coming from
Rua Francisco Bicalho, 49 (Quilombo das Guerreiras) Rua Francisco Bicalho, 49 (Quilombo das Guerreiras)

Now living in
Quilombo da Gamboa Quilombo da Gamboa

It was one of those occupations that we suffered a lot of pressure, we had a very hard time. It was a building in Francisco Bicalho, which had belonged before to DOCS, and I had lived there for eight years. There were a lot of children and families there. When you look at how many abandoned buildings there are here, for 20, 30, 40 years – great, it’s closed off, abandoned, let’s open it, let’s live there. Ah no, because it’s in the city centre, you can’t live there. Poor people aren’t allowed.

City Hall arrived and said you have to leave, and they put people in there exactly with the intention of mixing it up. Then they said you have to leave, you have to leave, the police came, and normally you would call that oppression. There was a deal to be made, we could have negotiated. We are looking for all the resources we can, because the building was there abandoned for so many years, we thought it could be used for housing. We weren’t living there for free, we wanted to make a deal, but they said, enough. You all have to go. They rented some trucks, and we had to put all our things, our furniture, in the trucks, and they said: where do you live, where do you have relatives that can take your things? It was like an eviction. We were shouting and singing, and the children sang most of all. But we went.

Those who are used to living there down below, this is what they did, they sent them far away. People go to bed and wake up already tired. Some preferred to live on the streets. Some received social rent, others didn’t, because you had to present a receipt for your social rent, and not everyone had one of those. It got difficult, because these days, everything costs more. A lot of people ended up sleeping in the square. Some stayed with families, but often their houses were full. This is a problem in Rio generally. The state doesn’t have the money to pay rent of 800 reals, 1,000 reals. If I had to pay rent, I don’t know what I’d do. This land where I’m living now, I got through the project Quilombo da Gamboa. I wrote to them and took part in the meetings they had, as some of us that were in the Quilombo das Guerreiras came here. Some didn’t want to, it was their choice. I have to thank God that I’m here. I believe that it’s already gone right, I won’t say it’s going to go alright. I hope there won’t be another move, not just for me, but for all those that suffered, the guerreiros, all those that have fought for somewhere to live, from the Quilombo das Guerreiras. Where someone is suffering, that’s where I am. We are here, in the everyday struggle, trying to survive.

Reporter: Lara Norgaard

Photographer: Lara Norgaard

My journey

Paint the wall

This wall is for everyone. Upload photos and images about the olympic removals, or write your message on our wall: just select the type of pixo you want on this form.