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hard work: the tangible benefits Sabino Inácio da Silva Filho, São paulo taxi driver working and could help their parents with financial support, Filho bought the apartment where he lives today with his wife, a housemaid who looks after their grandchildren, and his youngest daughter, 27. He is still paying the monthly mortgage of R$500 (about US $290) for the two-bedroom apartment. ‘When I could not pay, my children did it’, he says. ‘I always worked for them to study. When they began working, it was their duty to help me too’. He feels much more comfortable now with his own home than when he rented. ‘It’s mine. I can change whatever I want in it’, he says.

From Monday to Saturday, taxi driver Sabino Inácio da Silva Filho, age 62, follows the same routine: he leaves his apartment in Jardim Martini, in south São Paulo, at 6:30 a.m. on the dot and gets back home 12 to 17 hours later. For 12 years, the taxi driver has worked in Largo da Batata, one of the busiest places in the Pinheiros district, in the western zone of the city. Over the course of his long work days, in which he typically drives between four and 12 trips, Filho has seen just about everything around his taxi stand, including municipal agents running after street vendors and people on the street trying to lynch pickpockets. His taxi stand is situated in an area that has been under construction for four years, home to a future station of the Metro Yellow Line, expected to partially open in 2010. Exposed daily to noise and dust from the work of heavy machines and the chaos of diverted traffic, Filho does not complain. Instead he waits for the day he will be able to benefit from the completed Metro development. ‘It is impossible to get worse than that’, he says, indicating deafening noise and dirty air. ‘The work in progress is difficult not only for me but for everyone. I believe that the region will improve. It will have more movement, but will be more organized as well’. Born in Garanhuns, in Pernambuco state, the hometown of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the taxi driver has lived in São Paulo for 36 years. For 20 of those years, he lived and raised his family in a rented house in Vila Campestre district, also in the southern zone. When his children grew up, began

Filho is proud that all of his children started working very early, at age 12 or 14, which he considers mandatory for poor people. ‘The good thing is to work, not to take what belongs to other people’, he says. None of his children graduated from college, but all of them are employed: one as a moto-boy, one as a driver for a construction company, one as an executive secretary in a private hospital, and one as the coordinator at a hearing-aid equipment company. Filho likes the neighbourhood because it meets his needs, with a drugstore, bakery and supermarket. When he needs medical assistance, he uses the nearby municipality health post or Pedreira public hospital, also in the southern zone. As a member of the taxi drivers’s union, he benefits from a health insurance plan. On Sundays, Filho is usually so tired that prefers to stay at home. He likes to ‘Lay down on my couch, relax and sleep’. If the family wants to go somewhere else, he sets one firm ground rule, ‘I’m not driving anyone anywhere today!’ Once a year on New Year’s Eve or Carnival, he rents a beach house in Peruíbe, along the southern coast of São Paulo, to rest for a week with his family, dividing the costs with his children.

Image: Marcelo Min Fotogarrafa Agency

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Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

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