Environmentalist Adolfo Souza Duarte, 41, Ferrugem, disappeared since Monday (1st) after allegedly falling from a boat at the Billings dam, in the south of São Paulo, started to carry out social and environmental work in the region after his death. of the son.
Miguel, 9, died 10 years ago, a victim of cancer that had been discovered two years earlier. “Work starts as therapy,” says his wife, manicurist Uiara Sousa Duarte, 39.
When he lost his son, Duarte was in his last year of history and was preparing a course conclusion work exactly on the construction of Billings.
Born and raised in the region, he has always been interested in the dam, which cuts through neighborhoods on the outskirts of the southern zone of the capital, such as Grajaú, and cities in the metropolitan region, including São Bernardo do Campo and Santo André.
With Miguel’s death, the environmentalist began to carry out small kayak trips in the place. According to family members, it was the way he found to deal with the tragedy.
During these walks along the waters, children on the shores asked to sail too – sometimes they were answered, says Uiara. “There he saw that he had the need to work with the environment. The children understood that they should take care of it. It also addressed the issue of preventing drowning”.
From this initiative, the Remada na Quebrada project and the NGO Meninos da Billings were born, both run by Duarte.
In parallel with tours and studies (he completed his history course), Duarte also found spaces to give life to DJ Ferruge, who performed at weddings, schools and other events in places around Billings. In addition, he was also cultural coordinator of CEU Navegantes.
Duarte’s various activities always took him out of the house, says the woman. “On Sunday  in the morning, his birthday, I still fought because I wanted a family lunch. But he was excited about the new boat,” she says.
According to Uiara, the vessel involved in the accident is new, with less than a month of use. The vehicle was purchased by one of her husband’s partners.
If his absence from home was a reason for disagreement, his work in the region is celebrated by traders, who consider him a leader of the community.
To the report, shopkeeper Djanira Bispo Santos, 69, who owns an establishment on Avenida Dona Belmira Marin, at the height of the ferry, meters from the accident site, pointed out the improvements obtained after the environmentalist’s intervention.
One of them was a request for tree pruning, since the crowns were harming the lighting and leaving the place dark. Djanira also says that Duarte got basic food baskets for residents during the pandemic.
Street vendor Edvando Aquino da Silva, the trader’s husband, says that the environmentalist also carried out several cleaning efforts at the dam and its surroundings.
The owner of the bar where the two couples who boarded with Duarte were staying shortly before the accident, merchant Fábio Roberto, 38, was one of the people accompanying the searches. He explained that many garbage bins scattered around the neighborhood were made manually by Duarte, using recyclable materials. “He never let a child go unnoticed. For him, it was everything. No, he didn’t.”
Currently, in addition to the boat trips that brought in some income for the family, the environmentalist also worked as coordinator of a park in the region of the Guarapiranga dam.
In fact, the family was already packed to move closer to Duarte’s work. The change would also bring comfort to Uiara’s journey to work, with more transportation options.
“We are migrating to Guarapiranga. One month after we rented a kitnet, I changed my daughter’s school,” she said.
With the disappearance, plans changed. The woman already has the possibility of returning to Grajaú, the neighborhood where she met Duarte when they were teenagers —the two have been together for 20 years.