Thursday, August 09, 2007

I once wanted to have only enough material possessions to put in the trunk of a car.

What happened to that ideal? I think my big feet had something to do with it. It's so much easier for smaller, petiter people. Their stuff takes up less SPACE!

So, to deal with the space issue, I gave away both my sofas today. That means I’m much less encumbered than I was yesterday.

I might give my big heavy antique-y chest of drawers/bookshelf to my grandmother upstairs. That would cut my furniture ownership in half. I found someone, bless their heart, who will let me keep my things in their empty upstairs apartment, provided that I can find some strong men willing to carry my refrigerator, stove,
disassembled closet and bookshelves, plus 4 boxes of books, up the steep, steep stairs.

Which would free me to move my bed, a small chest, two stuffed chairs, my kitchen table and standing cabinet, and all my bags and suitcases to a friend’s house out past Tijuca. I can stay with them…until I find something suitable to rent. Or who knows? Maybe I’ll buy.

I had a nice chat with the cute couple from the corner store today. They’ve been furnishing me with boxes and chatting about how much they love me even though they hardly know me and how they think I’m just swell and how they never thought my ex-boyfriends would amount to much…so very sorry, exes, if you’re reading this. Not amount to much FOR me, okay?! They're also calling family members in search of an apartment...and confirmed what I've been hearing all around town.

The real reason I’m having to move seems to have more to do with the rumors finally coming true: the Brazilian government is going to raze a good portion of Manguinhos and reconstruct. This is mostly good news for the community. But what’s happening is actually a bit confusing. The only people to get homes will be the people that are currently living in the homes to be razed at the time of the reconstruction. That includes renters.

That’s right.

Renters will be given a new home, and not the homeowner. Which kind of makes sense, as it would cause a huge housing problem the other way around…and really, some of these homes are such slums that landlords should have to pay the government to help knock them down. Since it is still technically a squatter community, while the homes and bricks and whatnot may be owned, the land isn’t. So unless your entire income comes from rents, the official position seems to be: You're renting your second home. Which means you have a place to live. Your renters don’t. If we kick them out, we just increase the favela problems because they're never going to be able to afford rents outside the slums. Your home doesn’t technically belong to you, so too bad.

This is bad news for renters whose landowners went to that community meeting, because they’re getting kicked out, asap.

Like me. Whoo hoo.

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