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Just a little venting.....

SallyBR1's picture

I won't go into family issues, but allow me to touch a few general Brazilian issues

I've mentioned before here that essentially every person lower middle class to the upper levels has maids back home. It is a cultural thing, I guess. People grow up used to the idea that house chores are to be done by maids. THe richer you are, the more servants you have. Some have cleaning ladies, cooks, gardeners - keep in mind it's not like here where some people might hire help to do major cleaning (windows, patios, floors) or do major catering or gardening. No, I'm talking people who stay in your house 24 hours/day (or 8 hours/day) and do all the jobs, from making your bed after you get up, to cleaning the dishes, doing the laundry, ironing (yes, every single item gets ironed), cleaning up your clutter, washing your toilets (daily), sweeping the floors, washing kitchen and bathroom floors (those are usually tiled and have drains to allow for real washing, with hoses)

Even if you don't have a cook, the maid will do the small jobs in the kitchen that my friends rather not do: slicing onions, peeling potatoes, smashing garlic, cleaning meat etc etc etc

the longer I've been away from Brazil, the more these things bother me - I can go along with some of it, but particularly in this trip, I had to bite my tongue so hard, the blood was rushing to my head, because I did not want to ruin a 30 year old friendship for speaking up.

I will give you a couple of examples - when I got to the beach, I was obviously not tanned at all. I put my foot next to my friend's foot, and said wow, you are soooo tanned, look how pale I am by comparison!

her husband, laughed a little bit and said "yes, she's got "maid's feet"

I wanted to smack him upside the head right there. What a disgusting thing to say, even if as a joke!

they just bought the house at the beach, and immediately had to hire a maid, a very nice and quiet 22 year old woman. My friend said they like her because "she is very smart, and learns things fast" - said with a tone that would be more appropriate if they were talking about some inferior species of human beings

during her training, they told her that when they get up they like to have the breakfast table set, but would prefer if she would not be around doing chores in the kitchen while they eat breakfast - she can go out, or start doing something upstairs.

I honestly felt sick to my stomach listening to this.

can I vent some more? This tops it all - they will do a renovation in the new beach house, to change the kitchen sink from one wall to another. I was surprised, because these renovations involve so much work, change all the pipes, etc etc. My friend told me that since they will not do the dishes at the end of the day and they will just pile up in the sink area, they rather move the sink so you cannot see the mess from the sofa!

(and Sally faints)

I've had plenty of discussions with Brazilians living here or in Europe, and everyone shares the same disappointment and disbelief - our families and friends are living in a different kind of setting, and just want to go on profiting from the inequalities of society.

what can I say? They are all wonderful people, but..... I feel like a fish out of the water when I go there.

(thanks for listening... it's good to vent a little)

teebee's picture

(post #51754, reply #32 of 34)

And how much does a "please" or "thank you" cost to give? Half a breath maybe. I am big on please and thank you.

When I was in the hospital two years ago, I had AWESOME nurses (and a few good doctors, one bad one). When I recovered (I was in a week for an infection), I wrote a letter to our hospital's CEO to tell him how wonderful the nurses were (when I was thanking them, some told me that I was a good patient; I credit the morphine).

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #51754, reply #14 of 34)

I realize these maids are most likely very young and/or minimally educated workers who may well be supporting families in addition to themselves with their jobs, BUT that still doesn't make the system right.

If you suddenly did away with their occupation, or required them to be paid much higher wages that would be a disaster as, of course, you would then suddenly have an inexcusably large number of people unemployed.

However, if you instead focused on providing vocational training and removing barriers for these women that prevent them from attaining more skilled work you could do something about it.

Gretchen's picture

(post #51754, reply #15 of 34)

It requires a visionary leader--OR a revolution. The first is preferable.


MadMom's picture

(post #51754, reply #16 of 34)

I agree.  Just requiring higher wages, as we did in the Canal Zone, resulted in massive unemployment and no benefit tot he women involved.  Education is the key.

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