‘I live a dream I never thought of coming true’, says Ilza – 12/24/2022 – Mônica Bergamo

It was sitting on a church pew that Ilza Ramos Rodrigues heard the preaching that a member of that community would have their life transformed and be recognized by other people. The following week, the prediction was repeated during the reading of the biblical word in the house of prayer in Itapeva, in the interior of São Paulo. Without delay, she shared with her children the message she heard. “But I didn’t know it was for me”, says Ilza to the column.

It was early September. Days later, the diarist would become one of the faces of this year’s elections after a businessman and supporter of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) try to humiliate her, refusing to provide lunchboxes, for discovering that Ilza would vote for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT)🇧🇷 “You ask Lula now, okay?”, he said. Cassio Dinner them🇧🇷 A video of the dialogue, recorded by him, went viral.

That weekend, in his first press interview, Ilza told this column that evil had been turned into blessing in the face of the current of solidarity that was formed. Three months later, she says she has even more reasons to celebrate: a crowdfunding that raised around R$50,000, organized by the Razões para Acreditar profile, will allow the 52-year-old maid to renovate and have the home she dreamed of.

“I think it rained more inside my house than outside. I had to keep running around with a bowl. It was really leaking, you know? Now it’s changed, tiles, rafters have been bought… So, the bathroom, girl in heaven! It was chic, it was beautiful! The bathroom was a terror. Now it’s tiled all over, there’s a floor on the wall and a floor on the floor, there’s a…” —he says, before pausing and sketching an embarrassed smile. “There’s a new toilet,” he amends, bursting out laughing.

“There wasn’t even a toilet, it had to be done with a bucket. Now there is! It’s even nicer to stay inside the bathroom”, he says, laughing. Another novelty is an American-style kitchen, in which the space for preparing meals is integrated into the living room by a bench. “My dream was to have that division. In the houses where I work, most have these countertops. I thought it was beautiful, fia from heaven.”

“Today I am living a dream that I never thought I would be able to achieve in my life”, he says about the renovation, which will also replace the sheets that divided the rooms of the old house with doors and walls. “Glory to God who prepared me, these people who helped me, otherwise my dream would remain for my children to do in their little house. Because I wouldn’t be able to.”

“Everything that is coming into my house, I just thank you. And it’s so good, we feel so good. Only those who pass by, know this emotion”, he continues, before remembering another realization. “I bought what I wanted! You know what?”, he says. “A microwave! I so wanted one.”

The eldest of ten siblings, Ilza Ramos Rodrigues attended only the first grade of elementary school. At the age of eight, she started working harvesting beans, cotton, corn, tomatoes and soybeans in the rural area of ​​Itapeva. The marks of that period can still be seen in her hands.

“I’m 52 years old, but people give me more because I’ve always worked, right? I came from the countryside, I’ve always struggled in life. I didn’t have a childhood where I could play, study. At the time, we had no options.” In addition to the journey in the countryside, at home, Ilza shared the demands of raising her siblings with her mother. “They called me Mom.”

In her early teens, she returned to São Paulo, the city where she was born, to work as a maid. “I stayed at a woman’s house. I slept and worked at her house, cleaning,” she says. As she enters the account of her youth, Ilza is silent — and her eyes fill with tears.

“Actually, good things are happening now, fia. God gave me a lot, but I also suffered a lot. I didn’t have a childhood, I didn’t have a youth. I couldn’t be a normal young woman who could have fun and be happy. The right word : to be happy. I wasn’t. But, of course, I always thank God for giving me strength. We have a lot of trials, but there are also victories”, he says, opening a smile again.

From the period he lived in the capital of São Paulo, he says he is proud of the skills he acquired for domestic cleaning. “I wasn’t going to say it, no, but the people who take me to clean the house, they don’t let go of me anymore. It’s like I tell them: if it’s not to clean it very clean, I won’t take it. People are always calling me ’ he says, smiling.

The diarist claims that she still receives food donations from the MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) and gas since the episode involving Bolsonarista. Two neighboring families, with whom he shared the lunchboxes he received until then, also started to be contemplated.

“This basket that I receive does not come just for me, they [do MST] put these two families together too. They are very grateful, they are happy, I can see it in their eyes. And I’m happy that, through me, I can help these people.”

Not that everything went so smoothly after that. your name is recognized nationally🇧🇷 “It was good, but scary,” he recalls of the days following the video. Media professionals even stood outside his house for hours on end, he says. “I was locked inside the house, there were a lot of people. They came and wanted me to say everything again. That was making me feel bad.” Because of the experience, Ilza preferred to speak with the column via video call to avoid turmoil.

In the first and second rounds of this year’s elections, tension was maximized. “People kept looking at me. But I also voted and left. Only one woman said: ‘Yeah, let’s cheer'”, he says. “For Lula,” she whispers. She pauses and then concludes: “Although now it’s okay to talk, right? Guess who I voted for?!”

“I stayed here, girl from heaven, with my nerves shaken on election day, with that counting thing. But then it was a relief”, she says about the PT’s victory🇧🇷 She says that she intends to watch the inauguration of the president-elect on January 1st on TV and that she hopes for a phone call from Lula. “I really wanted, and I still want, for him to call me. If he said ‘hi, Ilza’ in that big voice, I’d be happy already”, she says, laughing.

From the elected government, the diarist says she expects it to prioritize the most vulnerable part of the population. “May he watch over us, who are very humble people. And reduce the price of this food business because it is difficult🇧🇷 The 5 kg package [de arroz] it’s twenty! [Que o governo possa] give more chance to people who have young children. I am so sad to see the children in need.”

Ilza intends to spend this Christmas Sunday (25th) in her recently renovated house, served with the lasagna and roasted chicken so desired by her in previous years and in the company of her three children who, unlike the Christmas period, covid-19 pandemic and until a few months ago, today they are all employed.

“Everything I suffered as a child and young man has now made up for it. Overnight, this happened. It took that part [o episódio envolvendo a tentativa de humilhação pelo empresário bolsonarista] for God to act. May He bless everyone who helped me and who is still helping. Surely, every little good thing they did for me, they will have twice as much. You are all in my prayers.”

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