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    « Brazilian Bikini Wax Beware | Main | Manners in Brazil »

    May 21, 2008


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    We can feel sorry, but not guilty. If you pay a good salary, if your maid/driver is registered (work papers), if you treat her/him kindly and honorably... They are not less human beings for being poor, they may be even more humanized, decent people, for they don't put their joy de vivre in consumption or business status. Or, they may be less privileged, but not poor.

    Lisa Kauffmann

    I can totally relate to what you are experiencing with maids and drivers and the guilt that comes with it. When I think that cleaning ladies in Calgary make 25 bucks an hour and one pays a faxineira a little bit more for a full days'work here in Rio, one can get a bit dizzy.Brazilian faxineiras,if good, are REALLY good. They blow the pants off of the cleaning ladies in Calgary..
    I love the term you coined 'Brazilianaires' really says alot. Unfortunately,even with all of their money, they have a tendency to treat their domestic help like dogs. It really upsets me to see that.
    There is definitely a class/caste system here, contrary to what people will tell you. I have had the opportunity to be invited for coffee at 10 pm at some Brazilianaires house, and she actually went and WOKE UP the maid to make coffee for us. I felt so bad for the young girl who probably started her day at 6 am....
    Slavery was abolished over a hundred years ago, but in some homes here you would never know...
    I have found in my experience living here that the less privilged tend to be the most generous in ways that continue to surprise me.
    I am importing my maid to Canada to be a caregiver to my parents. She has been with me for almost ten years and there is nobody else I would have to look after my parents.


    Yes, the caste system in Brazil is shameful. I witnessed my ex-mother-in-law (who has since passed, may God rest her Brazilionaire soul) treating the maids like dirt.

    I was so blessed to find a wonderful housekeeper/nanny to help me care for my daughter when I lived there. She worked for me for 8 years. I was not rich myself so could not pay her well but I treated her like a sister. We ate together and watched TV together and we could talk to each other about our problems. She had a young son and they both lived with me. I gave her food and clothes and household items to take home on the weekends. Before I left to return the the U.S. I bought her a sewing machine so she could start her own business as a seamstress as she was very good.


    Thanks everyone for the comments. Interesting to get different perspectives on this topic as my visitors have been asking questions about it a lot but I have not been sure what the answers are, I think every situation is a bit different. Lisa I think it is great you are taking your maid to Canada and Suzanne I love the story about yours - the fact that you had her and her son live with her and especially the fact that you bought her a "fishing rod"!

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