Olinda Alves dos Santos


“Today we live in this dry place because of the eucalyptus. Fibria planted [eucalyptus] and the water dried up so people have to live without it; it destroyed the land. There is so much  pollution from Petrobras’ drilling and with the eucalyptus drying the water, we are running out. Within a short period of time we will not even be able to survive. If we wouldn’t have planted coconut we would not survive because the eucalyptus has made the land so weak. The plants will die and people will no longer able to live here anymore.

Before Petrobras came and did the oil exploration here things were better because there wasn’t so much pollution. Today there are so many things wrong. We ask them to fix things and they always say, “in one year from now or two years” and they never come to fix anything. It is all the same. I ask them to fill in the hole where they took the clay to make the base of the oil pit, but they said it was not in their work plans so they would do it later.

Petrobras does not pay me enough, it is just to shut my mouth. R$ 500.00 is what they pay an annual rent.

There used to be more agriculture when I was a girl, but now it is over. Things have changed. There is nothing we can do now because we don’t have anymore land, we don’t have space, it is too small of a space to work. We can not work where Petrobras built the oil drill, because of the pipelines, and the cables so they do not want us to make fire or to cut anything. How are we supposed to farm then? Things are worse than before.

Fibria and Bahia Sul use chemicals to kill the weeds, called Roundup. When it rains all these chemicals go into the streams and we drink this water, which causes many illnesses. There are places where people see oil in the streams, a type of kerosene that looks like cream and stays on top of the water. It has an unpleasant smell that could be oil coming from under the ground and we also drink this mixed water. At first we could not drink the water because it tasted horrible, it was like chlorine and gave us stomach aches.

The company Petrobras, Fibria and Bahia Sul see that we have no way of working and they could help us by making a water well, a chicken breeding farm … but they do not do anything. We are in a waiting line, living like retired people.”

Olinda Alves dos Santos and Benedito Alves dos Santos (S. Corumba)
Benedito Alves dos Santos (S. Corumba)