Reporter: Jessica Mota · Photographer: Jessica Mota
We were practically forgotten about, they wanted to force us to leave"
You can’t even put a cup of water down, in case it bothers someone below. Can you imagine that? And people say ah, the government did this crap for us, but it wasn’t the government. The government paid to have it done. The people who did it did it badly, they used material of the worst quality. They used the cheapest materials they could find.
The director of BR4 was here two years ago, Mauricio, was here, and I showed him that everything was falling to pieces. And he really did pay attention. Two weeks ago, he was here. And so it started. Ah, well this here – he sat down, said he was going to note it all down – ah, well that there… he got a notepad and pen to note it all down. And he noted it down, but it was nonsense. He’ll note it all down, but never come here again. He came back, after two years he came back, to do maintenance, but I said fucking hell, you’re going to write it down, but you’re not going to do anything.
This girl who was to get an apartment only got a shell, and he didn’t even tell her it would be resolved. He still hasn’t been back here.
My name is Carlos Henrique Rodrigues, I’m 48 years old, and I was a bus driver. I lived there since 2001. When I broke up with my ex, I came to live with my grandmother. She said why don’t you come and live in a room above the bathroom? So I went there and built a place alongside her. Time went fast, and the time came when we had to leave. From the beginning, I grew up since I was little in a community [favela]. So I said, where are we going to go now? I didn’t like it, because they said we had to go to Cosmos. For example, I was five minutes from my work before. So I was thinking, how is that going to work? I’m going to have to get up in the small hours to get to work. My children were at school, you know. It would change our lives completely. I got a bit annoyed, I got a bit sad, because I was a bus conductor, then when I became a bus driver, we had another floor on our house, we could play around there. So it was a bit sad having to leave and go to Cosmos. I was a bit sad, but everyone fought and fought, and in the end had to leave and come here.
The only thing I miss is my space. Here, I can’t have a barbecue when I want to, in the corridor, because it’s infringing the rules of the condominium. A lot of people still do it, but why? As organisers, we have to set an example, more or less, you know? This is my sadness, because we don’t have our privacy.
[Did you see your house getting knocked down too?]
It was me who knocked it down. I took what was good out of there, doors, windows, etc, and gave them to my brother. He put them in his house. So it was me, just that society forgot Metro after that, and the houses left started to fall down. Crackheads moved in and started living there. You could still find my house, but they had knocked down even my water pump. We were practically forgotten about, they wanted to force us to leave. Because we resisted, they put us in Mangueira 2. And they gave us an apartment.
Today, I am satisfied. Because today, we are more recognised in this society, you know? People say wow, you live there, that’s great. I have to even thank them, the Lula government, the Dilma government. You have to thank them, I think they were fundamental for the lives of the poor. I can beat my chest and say “I’ve got my own house. I’m going back to my house.” I never used to be able to say that. “I’m going back to my house” – but what house? It wasn’t his house, he was going to to a community, to hide himself. I was afraid to confront society. Anyone who lives in a community feels that way. If you’re going to buy something, you have it sent to your boss’s house, because you don’t have an address. How am I going to order something and have it sent to my house, if I don’t have an address?
favela metrô mangueira, mangueira
Now living in
rua visconde de niterói, 190, mangueira