Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL - Dealer
Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle in March 2017
After interviewing Yuri in Rio de Janeiro, Capoeira teacher and tourist guide, he told me that he could introduce me to Evandro, a friend of him living in a favela and living out of small deals. We went to visit him in his very small and quite messy house inside the favela, wandering in very tiny streets to get there. Evandro lives down the favela, meaning that he is a small dealer. Big dealers live up the hill, where it’s more difficult to reach and thus more “safe” for them. So the higher you go in a favela, the more dangerous. Yuri came with me, first because you can’t go alone in a favela, and because he kindly accepted to be my interpreter for this interview, Evandro not speaking any English. As many “poor” people that we have interviewed, Evandro’s realism and generosity were profoundly touching.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Everyone has dreams, everyone needs to fulfil their achievements. There’re people who don't even have time for themselves, they are what happens to them. So, we just create. But everyone has a dream. I wanted to be a bank manager at the time, when I was very young. I'm happy as I am today.
With whom would you like to have a coffee?
You are here, at my place, you're welcome here, the moment is now. It's no use talking about dreams. Go ahead.
If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be?
Respect and education. That's the first step. Without that, the rest is useless. Wanting work your way up, wanting to go past people who are ahead of you, that's not good. Many friends of mine of other grades have gone because of that. They thought they were more important than those who were way ahead of them. So, if you don't have a sound standard, you cannot achieve anything in life. You'll never get anywhere.
To you, what’s that main characteristic that all human being have in common?
It should be harmony, because we have to respect each other. But unfortunately, it's all about ambition. Just look at our government. They have a lot of money and don't know how to use it. They waste it from one place to another, while someone is dying nearby. Needy people make queues just to get something, you can't solve anything here in Brazil... Human beings aren't getting along, there's no harmony anymore in the world. It'll be difficult to have equality for everyone. It'll be difficult.
To you, who is the happiest person on earth?
It's us here, right? We're happy, we're doing OK, a wonderful late afternoon like this. We're happy. You're going all over the world, he's going to be a father again soon [Talking about Yuri], I'm here in my house. Everyone's rushing after I don't know what. I'm doing well, business is going fine. I just want to be a father once.
If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?
It's difficult because we don't know the problems in the US. They think they are the best in the world, but they also have problems. People complain, they have racism, they have the same problems as everybody has. So, we don't know. There's inferiority, people who don't receive their money, education is not for everyone. Well... talking about politics is complicated. Everyone's going to Denmark, it's the best place to live. A friend of mine went there and said that schools have computers, things work well there.
What do you need?
All I need now is to have a family, a child. For me everything is done, I've done everything I wanted. Clothes, household appliances, everything I ever wanted for a family, a house… I already have everything, I only want a child and I think my mission will be accomplished. Only for my mother up there to be happy.
What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?
I don't know, it's something very big, one million dollars, I wouldn't want that much, but it's an amount that you wouldn't get again. It's a lot, I have no idea… I'd have to own it so that I could tell you. It's better not to think about it, just live here and, if it ever comes, I'll think about it. At this moment, it would be welcome. I'm 50 years old, I'm feeling OK, I've nothing to complain about. Many people have come and gone and I'm happy and healthy.
Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life?
There's no invention, just work. Everything I have, I worked for it. If I didn't work, I wouldn't have anything that I have today. The word "work" here in Brazil is a word that throws you to someone's hands. If it's someone with a good judgement, who knows how to work day by day, then... Even in the USA.
What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?
Looking at Rio de Janeiro, everyday you hear that a child dies, there's no progress here. You come to do the right thing, but there's always someone on the way. I want to live to see that day, but it seems that progress doesn't reach this place. Things don't go forward, we do our jobs and things don't go ahead.
Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?
They shared their moments with me, it was just my mother. Growing up with her was awesome. I don't know whether to cry or laugh because of the family values. It was great. What she shared with me were little moments. And there was love, hope, everything that was good. Nowadays I'm here... I don't even want to talk about it. It was great before.
If you had to create a company, what would it be?
It has to be something inspiring, like what you're doing. You're there working, I'm here helping you with your work. So, it must be something that inspires you. Being enslaved, doing what people tell you to do... I think we're a bit medieval. You're going all over the world, taking a little bit of every person and nationality in order to do something that... That's what working is about. There's no other way.
Can you draw something beautiful?
Right now, at this moment… I'm not good at this… How am I going to do this? I'm not used to this. It's a heart. It's a very crazy heart.
What are you afraid of?
I've got everything. From now on I just need a family, nothing else. What else will I be aiming at? A car, a motorbike? I'm not afraid anymore, I'm at an age when I'm not afraid of anything. Just of the cowardice of men, but, if you learn how to play the game, they'll bow to you. It's not possible to understand any longer... The fear doesn't exist.
What is your dream?
I'm living my dream already. Everyone's running around because of that… I already have it, it's here. I have a house, I only need a partner, but let’s take it easy.
Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?
Do you think we'll ever get there? Do you have the vision, now I'll ask you, what do you think about 2100? II don't know, God only knows. If a madman comes and pushes the chemical bomb button... They started using such bombs recently. Suddenly one such bomb goes off without notice... The Earth doesn't belong to humans… Mankind is just passing by, it's something very profound.
What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?
I think about my mother. Sometimes I look back and it's something very strong… A true relationship between mother and son, it's like when you are dedicated to your family. I had that. It was my mother.
If you had to write a book about the current world, what would you be the title?
Will we ever make it?
Who is God for you?
A noble person, a person who left a culture which is not for everyone. Not everyone has a heart like his. On the phone, you said something about gluttony. And I was going through a process of gluttony, I was eating a lot. There was a time when I wanted to be a big guy, running on the beach, doing "capoeira", going from one place to the other and I ended up... because of gluttony. I was losing many things due to gluttony. And then someone came and called my attention to that, telling me that I was too heavy. And then I gave it a thought and realized I was eating a lot. And he knows the amount of food that should be eaten. He was great, God is someone who… Those who believe in God have eternal life, but those who don't... There are many lost people out there. In your country, France, a guy got hold of a truck and does something crazy like that, killing children... Entering a disco and killing everybody just like that. Well, let's leave these heavy thoughts behind and embrace peace.
Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of?
Just take a look at our culture around the world. We have created an identity out there. "Capoeira", "samba", the bad things happening in the slums… All that is an identity that I could grasp and deal with. A culture in which only this or that person can be part of, a certain person is no good... So I think that the Brazilian culture is very strong, it has a strong influence on other cultures. "Capoeira" is something that's going around the world.
If you could do any job regardless of money, what would it be?
I'm already working regardless of money. Waking up in the morning, having my breakfast, taking care of the house. This week I left a pan with the plug turned on and when I woke up I realized the mistake I had made. Everything is work, everything is work. Waking up in the morning, talking with the usher, everything is work. The Earth is a passage. About the ambitious people, what can I say? We're talking about regardless of money, right? I'm not working for someone and only get the minimum wage, I don't need more. I'm at a stage where what I have here is enough. My worry now is to have a family, nothing else.
If you had to explain our planet to an alien, what would you say?
It's tumultuous. Don't try to bring peace, because it'll be difficult. Everyone is trying, but nobody is achieving it. Equality for everyone, nobody is going to achieve that.
And you, which question would you like to ask to the world?
A question to the world… The world is great, I'd have no way to ask, we have to take better care of this world so that we can give it to other people who are arriving. There's no definition for that.