Then, the most beautiful fight that I saw in the movement in Dom Tomás, here in the settlement, was the construction of the houses. Even because, at the moment, we lived in a black tarpaulin shack, right, it heated up a lot. And we did a job with the students at Usina and we were able to develop eight house models, which are the houses we live in today. It was three years of mutual self-help work, without pay, and we managed, er…, to build several houses, 65 houses, in this settlement, you know? And with everyone’s help, right? We selected helper, we selected mason, together with the students, we all worked together. We came to the completion of all the houses, handed over the keys to all the residents. They were very beautiful, by the way, this place we’re in was also built collectively with all the residents.
And so, lots of crops too. The production also went along, you know? There was a lot of sowing. We planted grapes as a collective, we planted rubimel plums as a collective, we made an apiary as a collective and all of them are still working.
There are beautiful stories, don’t you think? The houses, for example – think carefully – a group of students come.
Okay, come on, let’s build the houses? Let’s. Then you sit in a circle of people, er…, with much more study than you, that you are a farmer there or have a little notion of mass and, suddenly, you are going to make a square root, you are going to develop a drawing, you are going to develop your own house, you know?
So it’s very rewarding, isn’t it? You see, there comes a concrete truck, everyone in the concrete truck.
Yeah, no more concrete. We fill this slab here, two, three slab… then, here’s the thing, let’s take a shower. Take the hose from the truck, oh, bathe, everyone taking a shower, right… and together with the students, and a very cool friendship is made, right, you say: “darn, but you are an architect, man”. I’m here hugging an architect, and he accepted my opinion to say “I want the brick like this, I want the house round”, which is what happened. “We want this house over there round” and we managed to make a house with a round ceiling, you know? Yes, we did it, brick by brick, we managed it without needing iron frames, right, with the very degree of nature. We got the degree right. Then we made a shape, and they made this house, and there it is. I have one of them, I’m proud of my home, you know? And of the people who helped me, from a college, right, that, you see, the person is raised there in the center of São Paulo, has never seen land, never seen the ground, suddenly sleeping in a tent together with the residents there, you know? It’s spider, snake… and taking away that fear from the person. Then, the last day that the person left you, you say: “hopefully I’ll always see you”, it’s not what I think of the people of Usina. I hope I always meet them, always. I hope I know that they’re always well, because they did it from the heart.
So, I… I remember that it was from a plant, you understand? The students comes from a power plant. The exact name of the plant, I don’t know. It’s a cooperative, it’s a cooperative of architecture, of technical assistance, right… now, where they graduated, and by which university I don’t, don’t know.
[This land was] of the Ministry of Health, by the way, you know, which was unproductive, it was totally unproductive. Eucalyptus plantation, you know? That’s what we found. It was more eucalyptus plantation and degraded land for those of conventional agriculture.
So, yes, we can only conquer a land if it is really unproductive, right? And lose it for the same reason. If you also don’t produce over time on your lot, you also end up losing it back to the State, for the same reason you’d won – the law is the same.
So, er my name’s José Carlos Pereira Pires. I’ve been here on this farm for 20 years. At the moment I’m 54 years old.