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Interview with Ruth Alves from Vida Verde Co-Op

I’ve already told you all about Vida Verde, the Brazilian women’s cleaning co-op. Now here’s the perspective of Ruth Alves, the Vida Verde member who is cleaning our house. Ruth was nice enough to answer some questions that I emailed to her.

Where are you originally from? What did you do for work there?
I came from Brazil in 2005. I used to be a secretary there.

How long have you been with the Vida Verde co-op? Did you work for a cleaning service before that? And how does it compare?
I have been with the co-op for more than two years. I have been working as a cleaner since I got here. I used to work for a small company cleaning about seven houses per day. I would leave my house at 7AM and I would get home around 6PM, making $350 per week. Now I am independent and I am making money enough to live with dignity.

How has the co-op supported you? How do you support others within it?
In several ways. I am able to speak out now. I also learned how to work with other people and how to protect my rights. I am spreading the word about the green cleaners in my community. The co-op has trained more than 300 people in the last few years. I also try to make people understand how important it is to protect the enviroment.

What do you like best about your job? What are you planning on doing in the future?
I like to see how shiny the place turns after my work. I will still be working as a housecleaner in the near future. After…who knows?

Do the green cleaning supplies make more work for you?
Not at all. They make my work easier.

Before you started using the green cleaning supplies, did you have any problems because of the fumes?
I had a lot of allergies and strong headaches.

Do you use them in your own home?
Yes, I do.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
People should be careful about the chemical products. They are very harmful and we have very safe, easy, and cheap alternatives.

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