The Capoeira Academy of Vicente Ferreira Pastinha or Pastinha, one of the most known capoeiristas of the country, is open again since February. Not many people know, however, about the fact, since until now it wasn't advertised that in number 51 on Gregório de Matos Street, in Pelourinho, old students of the capoeirista get together on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, starting 5 PM, to sing and play capoeira.
Together with Mestre Pastinha, 90 years old, sing and play capoeira his wife Maria Romélia, João Grande, João Pequeno, Ângelo Romero, Valdino and Papa Amarelo, the oldest students of the mestre. "But the academy doesn't have students, because everybody who turns up only wants to have free classes, they promise alot". Maria Amélia [Romélia] is complaining.
Mestre Pastinha is very sick, he spends the days lying on a bench in the corridor of the building nº 14, in Pelourinho, where he occupies two small rooms, dirty and dark. He speaks little when is awake and his wife is the one who makes all the complaints. The academy, that was previously working in the building where is placed SENAC, in Pelourinho, was closed when they started the works to recuperate the architectural ensemble. According to Maria Romélia, all the equipment of the academy disappeared and it didn't help to go to the Pelourinho's Patrimony Foundation to learn about what happened. From that time until today, the abandonment and the exploration accompanied Mestre Pastinha, as is clear from the words of his wife:
- We only get promises, from many friends, writers, journalists that com here, but we don't get any decent money", Maria Romélia is saying to be tired of seeing Mestre Pastinha being exploited so much. According to her, many books were written, reports made, films and despite this they didn't give any financial compensation to them. She makes a request:
- Don't do shows saying that the income is going to his benefit because we won't see this money. I also ask that they wouldn't use Pastinha's name in songs and presentations, because later he won't have rights to anything.
FAMOUS AND POOR
In reality, the fame he had gained during the years doesn't bring Mestre Pastinha anything good in his last days. "Photographers come here, take his photos and sell them for 700 cruzeiros", says Maria Romélia. Meanwhile, the couple survives on a subvention gotten during the first government of Antônio Carlos Magalhães and on the money Maria Romélia gets from selling acarajés, when she can, on the door if the Pelourinho hotel.
Mestre Pastinha's illness is old age, he is blind and doesn't play any more capoeira due to this. When he has money, according to Maria Romélia, she calls a medic and buys remedies, when he doesn't she begs and gets something. But she thinks that nobody needs to give anything, same as Mestre Pastinha doesn't need to teach for free.
Some time ago Philips recorded an LP of capoeira with Mestre Pastinha. Now Maria Romélia is trying to get money for a return trip to Rio de Janeiro, where she would try to re-record the LP. "Or at least, if one of the banks would finance the re-recording or the launch of a book would be good."
This book could tell the life story of this ex-worker of the Marines, ex-wallpainter, ex-bookie, ex-troublemaker, ex-street pedlar, and ex-bouncer of a gambling house, who for some time has had a sad faith looming: "He'll die poor, sick, but famous".