domingo, novembro 05, 2006

So often now the crime here seems to be hitting closer to home for me. More and more of my friends have been held up in places I pass daily, doing things they do daily, in broad daylight with witnesses. In terms of psychological well-being, I think a feeling of safety is like the second thing on the pyramid. No wonder it has such an affect on people day to day.

There is an artistan fair that happens twice a month here, one I go to nearly every time it occurs, talking to the same vendors, looking at the same things. O Maridão isn't all that fond of it, but it has become sort of a social event for me, so he goes with just to humor me it seems. There are some sisters who make and sell dresses, and their origial classic style was a simpletiee dyed rayon sun dress - the kind you find in nearly all Latin American countries, popular as a keep-sake of the tropical memories for nearly every girl who hastraveledd through them. I have one from Mexico with a fish on it, and I have passed by them many times here thinking "I live here, so why bother." For some reason, these appealed to me at the time and so I have bought several over the course of the fairs, in various colors and styles - skirts and dresses, all with thistiee-dye pattern that seems to have died in popularity for everyone but me.

Having bought so many things from them, I decided to bring a few skirts to them to see if they could be copied so I could have more of them. Every fair I tell these women - Oh, yes, I forgot again. Fatefully, I remembered yesterday, and took two of them with me to leave on loan so they could make a pattern. The the midst of my explaining the merits of the designs, a loud screaming erupts and I turn to see ascragglyy looking woman being man-handled by two guys in security shirts who arewrestlingg a bag out of her hands, while trying to keep a hold on her arm. She is jumping and screaming and struggling and I am sort of reminded of agazellel, with all the air she is catching in her fight. Turns out she had just stolen two dresses from the table (one I was looking at seconds ago and am currently wearing), and these guys had been following her through the whole fair, knowing what was on her mind, waiting to catch her in the act.

Now, besides the fact that I was the one who had distracted these poor women who were almost stolen from with my unnecessarily lengthy explanation about the skirts, this whole disruption was literally in front of my feet, and Ju's feet, being that he was strapped in the stroller. Instead of backing up, or doing something, I just stand there dumb founded. No reaction. I seem to remain separated, unaware, unable to do anything useful.

After the fact, again, I feel thatweirdd sort of dirty feeling that I had after my cellphone was stolen. I couldn't sleep well and woke up at 3 AM to check that all the windows were locked and doors were shut and that nothing was amiss. Seeing that this happens all the time here, I know I should just get used to it, right? Brasilians live with this their whole lives and still want to return here if they happen to move to another country, despite this psychological pyramid safety thing. What is the secret? I wish I could figure it out.

3 comentários:

cman disse...

hello, this is cman from brazzil, I will be in your city the 11 through the 18 of nov. and would love to catch up with you and your husband. I am coming with a couple from to help translate and help them navigate salvador. I wil also pm you on the board.

I understand what you are writing about, imagine that my wife is from a favela in Rio, where I have watched more shootouts in a day then all my experiences in inner cities in N.Y., D.C., N.O, etc. However, one thing about favela violence, is that there is an order to things, which helps. But I only needed to get buy for a few weeks at a time.

i could try and give you advice, but you're not a tourist. Big city life is hard, even in Columbus Ohio violence is becoming worse and random.

thornapple disse...

There is violence here too, my sweetie. But here it is in English. And you should see the road rage now; it's terrible, because nobody enforces the traffic laws and the "me first" generation is driving SUVs, pickups and hummers. It's deadly. People in suits give you the finger on their way to work, because you chose to obey the speed limit and were in front of them. It is truly dreadful.

I observed some of the smoldering anger of the poor in Salvador. It made me very uncomfortable. The have-nots are pissed, and there are a lot of them. But we have that here, too, and it makes me just as uncomfortable...it is just confined to neighborhoods where we try not to go.

There is a new school super for GR and he is black, and he is now saying that the teachers are afraid of the black students and don't understand them, that there is too large of a cultural gap. I don't know where he expects to recruit teachers who are from poor black inner city ghettos, especially when there is a teacher's union. But I think ALL teachers are afraid of those students. They are wild, violent, disrespectful, throw things, bring guns to school. Who wouldn't be afraid?

Annie disse...

:(

Maybe because it's home?

Also, my home city is more dangerous than Columbus... and I still act all stupid about it.