Elza Maria da Silva Matos

"I use the event space to throw my birthday party every year. The samba crew from Vila Isabel always attends."

Coming from
Favela Metrô-Mangueira Favela Metrô-Mangueira

Now living in
Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 1 Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 1

My mother and father’s name is Marguerida. I am 88, but my birth certificate says I am 91. It was one of those confusions, you know, there is always one of those. My mother came to Rio to work as a maid. I brought my children up here, though one of them, the oldest, died. The other has disappeared. I lived in Chacara de Ceu before I moved to Metro. I lived in Metro, when my house was still just a shack, and afterwards we built a house. I stayed there until I moved here. When they started to do those works there, I got an apartment. It was better there, because we didn’t pay anything there. You had water and energy, a house downstairs and a house upstairs. But I lived well there. It was ours, we didn’t have to pay anything. Here, we pay for our energy, we pay for our telephone, and maintenance charges. Everything. I heard about this business that we were going to have to leave, so we wrote to them to get a house. That’s when they gave us this. There are two: Mangueira 1 and Mangueira 2. I got the last one, as I asked to live on the ground floor. My daughter lives here in front, on the third floor, and my son lives down below. I have two children here, and my grandson lives in Mangueira 2. It’s just me that has the paperwork for the houses, with me here.
They gave us a fridge, a bed, a wardrobe, everything we need. Things have got a bit better for me now. I have been doing things bit by bit. I go out these days when I get my money. I have two accounts: the maintenance charges, and electricity. We also get telephone and gas bills here. Everything comes out of my purse. I pay all of it. I performed for 23 years in the Vila Isabel samba school. I was a baiana for 23 years, and now I am a velha guarda. I used the event space to throw my birthday party every year. The samba crew from Vila Isabel always attends. After I got sick though, I got a bit less enthusiastic about it. I have two birthdays.

Reporter: Natalia Viana

Photographer: Natalia Viana

My journey

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