This building was originally a men’s wear factory. It was affected by a fire and abandoned 20 years ago. Soon after the building was squatted. Approximatively 50 families are living there were promised a new home by the State Government.
Carlos is one of the oldest residents of the Adonis community, something like twenty years, but the man cannot be precise. He lives in a wooden shack at open air in the third floor of the old factory. He reached this place because he lost the house his family used to live, “due to inheritance problems”. He is the only adult responsible for five children, one of them is a disabled boy. His wife passed away seven years ago. He tells that his major issue on the occupied factory is lack of running water. The single solution is to stock water in large bottles, each attending a specific task: cooking, discharge, bath. It’s been unemployed for six years, since he was fired from the cigarettes factory Souza Cruz, another that shut down its activity in the region. His large family survives on Bolsa Famíla, the federal income transference’s program. His major projection regarding a possible resettlement promised by the state government is living in a place with tap water.
Luciene has arrived at Adonis thirteen years ago from a neighbor community called Marlene. She comments that she’s exchanged one room in Marlene for two in Adonis, what was a good deal for her. The woman lives in the top floor of the old factory with one daughter and two grandchildren. She is originally from João Pessoa, in the state of Paraíba, from where she left to Rio thirteen years ago, to help her daughter raise her grandchildren. The lady describes that her small house also functions as a little commerce, selling soap, homemade frozen juice, candies and cigarettes. “This way people don’t have to go downstairs to buy things, especially in rainy days”. Her daughter works and the family also count on Bolsa Família income. The woman evaluates her life as better in Rio compared to the one in Paraíba. She exalts the proximity public health strategy offered by Clínica da Família, which follows her in her house. About the conditions in Adonis she says that the place is falling, because it went through two fires. In one of them she highlights the fact that “a whole family died”.
It’s been seven years since Andrea arrived at Adonis. She came from a public shelter, where she was living with her two kids. Because of a difficult divorce the state indicated the shelter as place to live. At the shelter she met her actual partner, who had a space in the top floor of Adonis. “We were mutually interested, we got committed”. Andrea explains that she had never been in Adonis for good, but she’d kept staying, “we needed a place to live”. She works as a maid but she had previously been production auxiliary at a factory and cashier at a supermarket, job she left because of the extenuating work load.
About Adonis Andrea is crystal clear. “This is no place to live. There is no water. Endangered of collapse, the structure got really fragile after two fires in the first floor. We want to leave this place badly, but we need to wait to the government’s resettlement, otherwise we will lose our property for other people. It’s a terrible stress, psychologically speaking.
Her kids study at a charity school of neo-Pentecostal order. Andrea, by herself, is finishing high school in a night shift at a public school. “- In my youth I had the dream to join the Navy, but got married early. I was very precocious. I am studying to have a better life, to fit in society. I want to be a lab technician. I also study to because of my children, to show them that is never too late to do what we wish to”.
Roseneide has arrived at Adonis 10 years ago with five children and “ thank God, no husband”, as she comments. She lived before with her grandmother in a slum located in the region of Manguinhos, which is quite close from where she is now. Someone she knew offered her a space in the roof of the old factory. She accepted and built the wooden shack she lives in today with her siblings. The change was really positive to her, even though the shack “is made of wood, raining more inside than out, this is mine”. She was working as a machine operator in a near plastic factory, but she was dismissed last month without knowing the reasons.
The woman comments that, besides the fact that the structure is in a near collapse, the other greatest challenge for people that live in Adonis, is to deal with the improper sewer destiny that affects everyone. She affirms that “God is the only responsible for holding this building and its people”. She can’t wait to leave the place with her five children, at least for a temporary place, helped by a state assisted rent.
Maria lives with her husband and an adopted son, the worst space available at Adonis, maybe the worst of Bairro do Jacaré, and probably one of the most degrading lodging conditions of the whole city. She lives there with a shocking vivaciousness, an easy smile, and a particular moral elevation. The above mentioned space her family lives in is located in the first floor of the old factory. There is no natural light, no ventilation and the place also is the disposal area of the top floor’s sewerage. As Maria speaks in front of her standard brick house, it is possible to acknowledge and to listen to the sounds that putrid water makes when it falls from the top floor and hits the ground. The harsh acid odor is abhorrent, and worsened by the lack of ventilation. However, it wasn’t always like this, when the woman got there the situation was a few notes better in Adonis.
It all changed five years ago, after a fire took place just beside Maria. It began in one of the fifteen houses of the first floor, but rapidly spread out in that stifling environment. Maria describes the despair of trying to get out of the house and not being able because of the heat in the door handle. She finally managed to escape just before the fire reached her place. Unfortunately, a neighbor family did not have a similar destiny. Father, mother and son died in the flames, they did not react in time. Maria explained that the authorities arrived, the TV channels too, the area was interdicted, but as no real option was offered for the residents the people stayed in the building. Maria stayed too. She kept living in this urban cave, in this sort of crime scene, along with insects, animals, sewerage and stigmas. All without losing her joy.
Maria, which is hired for a company to clean a public hospital, says – “We live inside a ditch. I stayed because I need to, but my son was never hungry”.
It has passed twelve years since Maria Rosane arrived at Adonis. She reached this place straight from the Northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, and she stayed because she was jobless and had nowhere else to go. Five years ago her husband returned with two of the kids to their homeland. She stayed with her third and youngest son. The woman comments that the living conditions are extremely poor, and it gets worse when it rains. “I can’t wait to get out of this place”.