We spent our first Saturday in Brazil with APOIO where we visited 3 different occupations in the centre of Sao Paulo that APOIO support!!! The first occupation that we visited was called the ‘Lord hotel’ in Santa Cecilia. It was a very new occupation and was barely a week old. People had only moved in on Monday 29th October. It was an old hotel which had been abandoned for over 2 years. While we there, we looked around the different rooms including the kitchen where the women were preparing food for the whole community of around 170 families, using leftover, unsold food from markets as well as donated food. We met some of the people living there including some young people who even taught me some dance moves which are known as ‘funky.’ You could see the joy on people’s faces and the hope they had now that they were in their new home. We then visited another occupation known in English as ‘White River.’ It was in a disused cinema, where temporary wooden ‘houses’ had been built to house people who had previously been homeless or lived in really poor conditions. The next occupation we visited was ‘Central hotel’ which again was barely a week old and was situated right opposite the local government housing department.
In the late afternoon, we reached Maua. It was amazing finally being there-I have heard so much about Maua since I have started at CAFOD that finally being there felt so unreal. We met Nete, Raquel and William which was unbelievable as I have talked about them so much in schools and parishes that to finally meet them was awe-inspiring! We had a chance to introduce ourselves and were able to pass on the messages from parishes and schools in Liverpool Archdiocese. I also had a chance to look around Maua and meet some of the residents we have heard so much about!