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September 29, 2004

29/9/4 Quarta

Wednesday.  FISH started an hour ago.  I’ll be sitting down to dinner with the Santos’, including Alex’s brother and his wife, who live across town, in a few moments.  We’ll be having chicken in red sauce, rice, and a salad of various lettuces, beets, and shredded carrots (a standard at any afternoon or evening meal in Rio Grande do Sul, it seems).  The senhora–the woman who cleans for them on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings–cooked the chicken dish and Sra. Santos prepared the dessert, a mango/cachaça dish that sounds exquisite (cachaça is sugar cane liquor, very popular in mixed drinks in Brasil). 

The Santos’ senhora is an excellent cook; she promised to give me a cooking lesson when she cooks for the family on a Friday, the day that I don’t have class.  She’s such a wonderful spirit to be around–so friendly, cheerful, and energetic.  It’s still a little weird for me to have a senhora around so I always try to lend her a hand when I can, like emptying the dishwasher in the morning so she doesn’t have to.  But the idea of not having a maid if you can afford one is actually seen as more socially unjust in Brasil than having one since it provides someone with employment.  Yet the fact remains that many families could afford to pay their maids a lot more than they do if they were to sacrifice a luxury or two of their own to help make another human being’s life easier, so it still rubs me the wrong way.  (And this criticism does not exclude families in the US, either, whether or not we have maids or employ someone to clean our houses–we all have a lot more than we really need despite knowing that there are people in the world with next to nothing).  Why don’t we share with others anything beyond what we need to live comfortably?  I suppose it’s because the more we acquire, the more luxurious our definition of “comfort” becomes.  A friend of mine in Philly has it right:  “Live simply so others can simply live,” he says.

Anyway, it’s nice to have this routine of a family dinner every Wednesday night, the same night as FISH.  I hope everyone is sitting down to a good program right now.  I know they are, because the leaders are awesome and wouldn’t create anything BUT a good program .



From → Brazil, Uncategorized

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