This patio in Lisbon's historic centre seems to have stopped in time. Old ladies hang their washing outside their windows. Kids play outdoors and the neighbours have created a tight community over many years. But soon they will be forced to leave. The owners of one of the buildings has decided to sell it, and it will be converted in a hostel. Gabriela is not only suffering the loss of her husband, she is also facing the loss of her community.



Gabriela and Torres, 2018. 

Gabriela was born in the patio. She met Torres in a concert and he eventually moved in with her.



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Satia and her cousins.

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Satia's toys are used to decorate broken flower pots. Her mum says the patio is a small paradise.

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Toys and ornaments decorate flower pots in the patio

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Kids play on the stairs that lead to Gabriela's home

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Gabriela's daily company now that her husband is sick is her canary.

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Gabriela gets ready to leave the house. She only leaves to visit Torres at the nursing home.

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Satia and her father watch tv in the bedroom.

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Satia's mother Carla. She is worried because she doesn't know where they are going to live.

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View from my window. I was evicted from the patio, too.


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Decorations placed by residents for the local festivities.

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Satia prepares decorations for the local festivities that take place in June every year.

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The patio is full of plants that residents tend to daily.

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Conceição Belo. She has lived here in the patio for many years. 

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"In all souls, as in all houses, beyond the façade lies a hidden interior."

— RAUL BRANDÃO


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Gabriela carefully hangs the washing.

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Satsa entertains herself with a broom stick. 

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Gabriela likes everything except for the pigeons as they poo on her clothes.


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Satia says she loves playing in the patio and will miss it here.

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Neighbours celebrate the local festivities with a dinner in the patio and eat sardines.

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Satia and her cousin doing homework. 

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Gabriela's canary is blind and missing a leg. She has always had canaries.

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Men take my furniture out of the patio to my new home. I was the first resident to leave after the eviction notices.

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Gabriela misses Torres and suffers every day.

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It's quiet, now that the kids have gone to another home.

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Gabriela used to have lots of neighbours, but slowly they are moving out.

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*****


At evening

they grow weary, the patio’s two or three colours.
Tonight, the moon, bright circle,
fails to dominate space.
Patio, channel of sky.
The patio is the slope
down which sky flows into the house.
Serene,
eternity waits at the crossroad of stars.
It’s pleasant to live in the friendly dark
of entrance-way, arbour, and cistern.


- Jorge Luis Borges,


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Gabriela says that one day the patio will be full of restaurants and tourist accommodation, just like the other patios.

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