Maria Lucia Gomes da Silva

"Recreio became an area just for rich people and they didn't want poor people living nearby."

Coming from

Now living in

We lived there for more than 40 years. They got a lot of signatures to get us out of there. Recreio was becoming an area just for the rich, and they didn’t want poor people living nearby. It was Pedro Paulo from the City Hall in Barra. He came to our house there, measured the inside, measured the outside, and marked all the houses. After about two or three months, he said we were going to have to leave. So he went to value our houses, as every house had its own value. Mine was good, the value was 12,000 and a bit. So he asked me if I wanted money or a house. I told him that I wanted a house. He said he would give us a house, afterwards, you will have to pay the rest of the value of the house there, so we would have to pay 6,000 more. Everyone had to pay this quantity. As we had lived there for many years, we were to exchange one house for the other, and not to pay anything. Firstly, we didn’t have a way to pay, and secondly, they were the ones who wanted us out of there. It was because of Shopping Recreio, they did a petition to get us out of there.

The place where we were, they still haven’t done anything there. Sometimes we go there on our way to the doctor’s. The place we used to live is still the same. The new lane goes in front of where we were, which was Vila Harmonia. I think they did it more because of the petition they had, to get rid of us.

We did three moves in the car. There was mine, my daughter, Ana Paula’s, and my sister, all in the same truck. Just at the moment we had put everything in the truck, the bulldozer was already there, starting to knock down the walls of my house. After two or three weeks, I went back there and my house was completely knocked down. The only house that they took time to knock down was the house of my late mother. My brother was the last one to go, because he didn’t want to go, no way. He didn’t want to. Everyone had gone, and he stayed there. They put up banners, saying that that house wasn’t to be knocked down. He still had to leave eventually. The bulldozer started knocking down their house with my brother and my mother inside it. When he saw that they really were going to knock it down, that’s when he realised he was going to have to go.

It was a little street, I don’t know how many houses were in it, but everyone knew each other. Everyone respected each other. Everyone was polite to each other, you could leave your children with the neighbours and go and get them later. Something else – the buses we had there, we just used to go out of the house and cross the road, and in front of Shopping Recreio there were buses going everywhere. There were buses for Rio das Pedras, Taquara, everything was nearby. There was a big supermarket, there were a lot of shops. There was a firestation near the Shopping, and if you called them, they came quickly. It’s not like that here. It has already happened a lot of times, that the person has died before they get here. The buses here – it’s a sad thing. There are only two buses on the line, from here to Campo Grande. We wait for ages on foot for the bus and the bus stop is a long way away. You have to get two different buses to get to Recreio. It’s sad to live somewhere where even for children…I got married, I had my children there, and suddenly, I had to leave, after so many years, to move somewhere like this. Very sad. Even now, I still say, if I could go back in time, and someone would offer me a house there in Recreio, in the same place, build Vila Harmonia again and take everyone there, to be honest, I would go without thinking twice about it.

Reporter: Mariana Simões, Natalia Viana

Photographer: Mariana Simões

My journey

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