Monday, August 25, 2008

A Glimpse into Brazilian Mentality

It's been a while since we've posted a blog - we apologize! We have got into the routine of daily life here in Brazil, and there's not always much different going on to inspire a new post.

Most of you who read our blog are familiar with Brazilian culture, but I wanted to share a few incidents that illustrate the Brazilian mentality. A couple weeks ago, we got into the car and drove up to the back gate that opens onto the road (our only way out). We were shocked to see the entire street had been dug up and the dirt and cobble stones were piled at least a meter high all the way across the entrance to our gate. There was no way we could get out with the car. David asked to speak to the man in charge of the operation and he told him that we had to leave because we had somewhere we had to be. The workers around us laughed and one of them said, "well, there's nothing we can do about that." David told them that they needed to advise the residents before digging up the street and blocking exits. (we ended up calling someone to give us a ride)

The road has been in a semi-drivable state since then until a few days ago when they dug things back up. Thankfully, our neighbor across the street was smart and befriended the workers, giving them water and such. He asked them to fill in part of road with dirt so he could at least drive in and out of his drive way. This benefited us too, as well as our church members who would have no other way to get their cars onto church property.

Today we left our house for a few hours and when we came back, wouldn't you know that things were dug up again and we couldn't get inside our gate. David called a worker over and explained our situation and after a few minutes, we had a path we could use to get inside. Who knows how long this will go on because Brazil is notorious for taking their time with such projects. As David told somebody recently, "That's Brazil for you. If things were any different, it wouldn't be Brazil."

Here's another story. Because of problems we've been having with people jumping over our wall and stealing our stuff and beating up our dog, we had an electric fence put up all the way around the walls surrounding our house. That was a situation in and of itself that I won't go into. After it was put up, we still had the problem of our gates being too short since the walls were raised for the electric fence. The space between the gate and the fence was too big and somebody could get through it, so we hired a guy to lengthen our gates. (in case you're wondering, our other gate isn't big enough for a car to get through -- otherwise, we wouldn't have the problem or getting in and out of our house) Back to the gate guy, David paid him part of the fee in advance at least two weeks ago. Everyday, the man would say he would be here at such-and-such an hour and everyday, he wouldn't show up. The one day he did show up, it began to sprinkle slightly and he said he couldn't work in the rain so he left and, you guessed it, didn't come back. I guess David went and talked to him and was pretty firm with him about finishing the job because yesterday morning, a few minutes before church, I heard loud banging on our front gate. It was the man with two of the gate extensions which he had brought over on his bike. I told him we had church in a few minutes and wouldn't be back until later. He said he wanted to go ahead and get started on the job since David was "aperriado" (annoyed/frustrated) with him. This was two weeks after he was supposed to do the job! So he left the gate extensions in our yard, promising to be back later on in the day. He finally showed up this morning and got the job done. Who knows how long he would have taken had David not kept after him.

I could tell you more stories, but then this post will get too long. :) It's not the easiest thing to live here in Brazil as adults responsible for our home and our family. We were just talking today about how we didn't realize a lot of things about Brazil when we were here as kids growing up. We still love it here, but we're still learning things about this country we now call home. Keep praying for us.