Much has changed since the pandemic began in March 2020, and dreaming seems increasingly unimportant. But is it? We, women from the periphery asked some women from different regions of Brazil what makes them bet on tomorrow.
The dream occupies a strategic place in the life of the cook Priscila Rezende, 35: “it’s my medicine, my therapy”. From the Perus neighborhood, northwest of the city of São Paulo, she says she understands that in the suburbs many women stop dreaming for lack of opportunities, but that it is there that she wants to fulfill her biggest dream: having her own restaurant.
Raised by her grandmother Iracema, Priscila learned to cook at the age of eight. At that time, in addition to the taste for her eldest’s inventions, she liked to hear the stories of the matriarch at the edge of the stove. “My inspiration comes from this woman. The passion for cooking is my ancestral heritage”, she says.
Adept at a religion of African origin, Priscila does not yet have a physical space, but she already has the name for the place: Tempero de Oyá, in reference to the Orixá of climatic events, also known as Iansã.
“Oyá is a symbol of a strong, warrior, powerful, sacred woman, owner of the winds, lightning and storms, Iansã won battles, wars and did not give up anything she wanted for her life”, she says, stressing that the space will also be a tribute to her grandmother.
Among the factors that most challenge Priscila to achieve her desire is the country’s economic and political condition. Black women entrepreneurs were the segment most affected at the beginning of the pandemic, according to a survey by Sebrae (Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Businesses) in partnership with FGV (Getúlio Vargas Foundation), released in August 2020. The survey showed that 36% of black female entrepreneurs had their activity temporarily interrupted – 30% was the proportion for black male entrepreneurs, 29% for white female entrepreneurs and 24% for white male entrepreneurs.
while the seasoning of Oyá does not materialize, Priscilla plans the location details. “I dream of bringing knowledge through cooking. Food is not just to fill the belly. Food is sacred and each preparation brings a story,” he says.
“If there’s one thing I don’t miss, it’s dreaming, it feeds my soul and calms my heart”
Priscilla Rezende, 35
“Oh, I dream for everyone,” says former cleaning assistant Raimunda Boaventura, 58, who lives in Taboão da Serra, a municipality in greater São Paulo. Black woman, she says that the difficulty of getting a job is old. “I delivered a lot of resumes, but the neglect was so great”, he says.
During the pandemic, the distribution of food baskets by local organizations was essential for the survival of her family. Even with the inconstancy on the kitchen cupboard shelves and the reduction in the consumption of meat and other foods, Dona Raimunda, as she is often called, found in writing a way to create a parallel reality. “I travel and enter the world of history. It’s like that when I read: I laugh alone, cry, sing. It’s part of me, it comes from within,” she says.
Dona Raimunda explains that rainy days tend to make her more depressed. Your backyard, as it is today, is muddy and, indoors, the leaks appear. “So I don’t get sad, I’ll write. Then things come up that you can dream about”, he emphasizes.
In her dreams, she wants a house “finished, pretty, where the light is like the light on a beautiful sunny day”, with a living room, kitchen and three bedrooms. “Being one of them with a bathroom of mine, of course,” he says with laughter.
Then comes the desire to publish her texts and be recognized for her writings. “I know I can make people smile, travel and have good ideas”, he adds. If communicating the desires to the world is an important step before realizing it, step completed.
The dream needs democracy
Débora Garcia, 38, is also from the world of letters. A resident of the east side of the city of São Paulo, she is a poet and writer, and is part of Sarau das Pretas, a collective of black artists who perform poetic and musical presentations, in addition to organizing literary publications.
She wants to live exclusively from her work as a writer, which is not possible nowadays, as she still needs to reconcile the routine of cultural activities with work as a social worker to pay for the basic household bills. No wonder she dreams of a future in which artists are more valued, a fact that, as she herself says, is far away given the lack of government support.
“My biggest dream today is for us to go back to living in a democratic government, in fact. We can’t make plans, right? We don’t know what it will be like tomorrow”
Débora Garcia, poet
So far she has already fulfilled two big dreams. One of them was traveling to Mozambique and getting to know one of the countries on the African continent. Before that, he graduated as a social worker from Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista), a profession that brings his main support.
“It was something that I fought and I dedicated myself body, soul and heart for three years until I managed to [passar no vestibular]. I am convinced that the possibility of graduating was a watershed in my life,” he explains.
The university dream was not something private. Data from Ipea (Institute for Applied Economic Research) from 2020 showed that, between 2009 and 2015, there was a 25% increase in blacks and browns in higher education.
Dreaming is “hoping”
More than 817,000 people declare themselves indigenous in Brazil, according to the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics). Kunã Yporã, 38, is one of them. Also known as Raquel Aguiar Tremembé, from the Articulation of the Web of Peoples of Traditional Communities in Maranhão, she treats dreaming as a “right” and a “form of resistance”.
No wonder, when talking about dreams, the collective for Kunã stands out. Among his greatest desires is the recognition and ratification of his territory, the indigenous community of Tremembé do Engenho, in Maranhão. “This fight only exists because we dream and believe in these achievements in favor of the collective good life. I dream big,” he says.
Little by little, some personal dreams are being achieved. the biggest one, to be a mother, has just arrived in your life. “Apparently it would be something impossible, but after my persistence, I managed. I overcame this challenge and today I have a wonderful couple”, he celebrates, remembering the diagnoses that he could not have children.
Kunã’s wish list also includes the desire to complete the specialization course in Indigenous Education and strengthen daily militancy for the right to land.
“We, indigenous peoples, are one of the most attacked and violated segments historically. Many of our ancestors gave their lives for our rights. Therefore, it is our duty to carry resistance in our veins and spread it from generation to generation”
Kunã Yporã, 38, from the Articulation of the Web of Peoples from Traditional Communities of Maranhão
dream as an antidote
In a post on her networks in May 2021, activist Neon Cunha shared the phrase “dreaming is the only antidote to fear”. Your own trajectory is the epitome of that message. In 2016, the activist asked the court for the right to assisted death if she could not change her name and gender. Furthermore, she claimed her right not to be “pathologized”. This is because, in 1990, transsexuality was considered a mental disorder, which only changed in 2019. It was with this firmness that she became the first trans woman to change her name without a pathology diagnosis in Brazil.
Among his current works is Casa Neon Cunha, which promotes inclusion, diversity and serves the LGBTQIA+ population in São Bernardo do Campo and ABC Paulista, in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. Today, at age 51, what she wants is that, over time, younger transgender women and men will find a safer reality for their lives and dreams.
His desire is based on the diagnosis of the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals (Antra), which showed that the life expectancy of a transgender person in Brazil is 35 years. In addition, Brazil is the country that kills the most transsexuals in the world.
How to dream in front of these numbers? Neon insists: “There is no space for the dream, but at the same time, there is no time to waste with the absence of the dream. It is necessary to feed the dreams, even if they are the dreams of the girls. It is urgent that they can dream”.