Entre Quatro Paredes (Between Four Walls)

To experience this award-winning piece in full, including a subtitled video, listening instructions and more about Heloiza's inspiration, click here.


FAXINA, /fah/she/nah/, is a Portuguese word that means deep cleaning, an activity that is much more than a simple tidying up.

Brazilian house cleaners call themselves “Faxineiras.” When someone is performing a “faxina,” this person is committed to move things out of their familiar places, to create a zone of chaos and discomfort, so that the dust — long accumulated — can be removed. Also, there is inside “faxineiras” (house cleaners) an interior preparation for the possible surprises that they might find under the rug or behind the sofa.

Between Four Walls is an episode about Elza, an undocumented Brazilian housecleaner who borrowed money from a “coyote” and fled Brazil to save her life, leaving behind her family, her house, her secure job, and her two-year-old son. It is an episode about the structural forces that cause women displacement, about domestic violence as a factor of women migration, racism, urban violence, separation of mother and child, and the aspirations of dreamers.

This work was originally featured in the 2021 Web Showcase, a new way of celebrating all eleven Third Coast/RHDF Competition winners with in-depth materials, including comments from the judges. Plus, our first-ever list of finalists in each category.

Full Credits

Entre Quatro Paredes (Between Four Walls) was produced, hosted, and edited by Heloiza Barbosa with assistant editor Valquiria Gouvea, sound design by Paulo Pinheiro Diogo Saraiva and Adam Gamwell, original score by Diogo Saraiva and Paulo Pinheiro, illustration by Carli Ayô, translation by Adam Gamwell, and subtitles by Diogo Saraiva.

produced by

Heloiza Barbosa

Heloiza Barbosa (@heloizahbarbosa) is the creator, producer, editor, and host of FAXINA podcast: audio documentaries about the lives of Brazilian immigrant house cleaners in the US, and immigrant domestic workers around the world.

Valquiria Gouvea

Valquiria Gouvea is a Brazilian historian and a middle school social studies teacher in the public school of Somerville, MA, where she is also a mentor teacher.

Paulo Pinheiro

Paulo Pinheiro is a sound editor, sound designer, and songwriter.

Diogo Saraiva

Diogo Saraiva is a historian, translator, musician, sound editor, and sound designer.

Adam Gamwell

Adam Gamwell is an anthropologist and digital producer.

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