28 Jan 2008

The good, the bad and the funny #3

Posted by walterheck

Today I want to talk to you about another very interesting and socially important thing I have found here in Brasil: Maids.

First, you should know (if I haven’t ranted about this already;) ) that here in Brasil one of the small problems with couchsurfing is that most of the hosts are young, middle/upper-middle class people. That has probably tainted my view of Brasil a little and that’s something I wish I could change, but for now I can’t. So keep that in mind when reading this article please 🙂

Most of the hosts I have stayed with here in Brasil in the past 7 weeks (jeez, has it been that long already?) have a maid in some form or the other. Some have a maid that comes around twice a week to just clean the apartment, others include doing laundry and some (like my last host Leo) have a maid for 5 days a week during the first part of the day. Leo’s maid comes every morning, washes dishes, cleans the house and prepares lunch (lunch is the main meal of the day here in Brasil and usually what we in Holland have for dinner). She is a very good cook and makes the most wonderful traditional Mineiro/Bahian dishes every day.

Most of the people that have a maid tell me they have more of a family-like relationship with them than just a professional one. They really care for this person and that person really cares for them. To stick with my host Leo’s example, his maid first started working for him when he got back sick from abroad. The woman is a traditional woman from the countryside of southern Bahia. She took care of him, prepared herb medicine for him and he got better. She is very proud of this and he is very thankful for it.

This is also very important from a labour-perspective. This kind of job is mostly done by poor women who would otherwise be out of work. Now they can make some money. So it doesn’t only benefit the rich people, it actually helps the poor people make a living. Without jobs like this (and there are many other “simple” jobs like this, but i’ll save that for some other time) the unemployment rate would be much higher. The job as a maid is almost never an under the table one like it usually is in Holland. Maids have to pay taxes and have the rights that other workers have.

In short, just another thing I had not expected to find in Brasil. It makes every day life a bit more interesting, giving you small things to think about.

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One Response to “The good, the bad and the funny #3”

  1. ” a maid in some form or the other”

    I assume most of them are in human form, if not I can imagine that’s something you hadn’t expected to find in Brasil.