10 Nov. 2009
There is an independent school nearby for children of a certain "underpriviledged" community in Salvador, and I go there and play with these super energetic and bright children. Oh they always seem so excited. Anyway when I asked one of the girls (she is apparently very fond of me and sometimes can't let go of me--literally she'll hold on to my leg for a really long time even if I'm trying to walk) what she wanted to be when she grows up and she said:
"um..lavar pratos...lavar pratos e limpar casa"
wash dishes and clean houses.
then I asked what she thinks her sister wants to be and she said the same thing.
This isn't a super surprising response though considering the class and gender relations. Over 90% of the domestic workers in Bahia or all of Brazil I can't remember are poor Black women. And this is involved with the politics of being a woman and their assumed qualities and also because of the institutional racism and sexism that makes it almost impossible for Blacks and women, and especially Black women to see upwards mobility because of course domestic work is not paid to the level of work and skill that it takes.
And this supports that children are really astute to perceiving situations--but of course I could just be reading into this, and assuming that may be washing dishes and cleaning houses is something someone she cares for a lot does, and looking up to that person, she would like to do the same.
Oh I managed to find a picture of us. That's her on one of such occasions (and that's me, the taller one :).
I know it makes it awkward with the faces out of the picture, but oh well. She's so adorable like all the other kids I've had the opportunity to work with. They have such great energy and that's why I like being around kids.
ps. I work at the on-campus day care at my university and miss them--oh the movie BABIES is coming out!! I can't wait
Oh right some vocabulary I learned from the children:
macaquinho=piggy back ride, they LOVE those
They also all called me Tia, although I am not their aunt. So I guess it can be used as a form of respect of elder but not super formal like "a senhora/ o senhor" which is very formal.
It's so funny because on my way to class the other day I was trying to get past one of the bancas (newstands) and there were like 7 teenagers getting stuff there and I was saying licensa, licensa, and then one girl said "deixem a tia passar" and I am only like 4 years older but they still called me Tia, and I laughed.