When I arrived at Post, I quickly noticed how polite the Brazilians are. Everyone I saw, would politely acknowledge me by nodding and saying, DVane. Now you have to realize, in many countries the inhabitants have difficulty with the “Dw” in English, so my name is Dvane, instead of Dwaine. When they nod at me and say, Dvane, it’s like us passing someone on the street in Texas, nodding to them and saying, Hey Fred.
So, throughout the months I have been there, it seemed everyone knew who I was. Understandably so, because many knew of my situation when I arrived. But soon, I noticed even the maintenance people would nod and say, Dvane. Well, since I work with several of them, I guess it made sense. Then I noticed the gardeners even knew who I was. So, it kinda baffled me.
I often eat lunch with a good man who works in the computer department. He is Brazilian and well known by everyone. One day while we were at a restaurant waiting for food, he looked at someone he knew and nodded and said, Dvane.
I asked him, What did you say to him?
I said, Tu de bem?.
What does it mean?
It’s like saying, All good?
Now, if you say tu de bem fast enough, and from a minor distance, it kinda sounds like Dvane. (bem is pronounced ben) So, all this time, when I thought people were nodding at me and saying Dvane, they were actually nodding and saying, All good? So, it kinda deflated me realizing not every knows who I am, but were just being polite.
As I have mentioned before, the Brazilians take meat very seriously, but here is an interesting bit of info. Several guys from the Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay, came to Sao Paulo to help me install a new alarm system. While sitting at lunch one day, they told me in Brazil they flavor their meat with spices, while the Uruguayans flavor their meat only with salt, and the types of wood they use in cooking. Nothing else. … just a tid-bit of information.
Remember me telling you about the ambulance stopping at a crosswalk, waiting for me to cross? Well, I believe that may be one reason why the waiting time for an ambulance is several hours. A while back, one of the visa applicants passed out and required an ambulance, so the Consulate called it in. 45 minutes later, the Security Officer called to see why the ambulance hadn’t arrived, and was told they were 39th in line! So, the patient went to the hospital by private vehicle.
At our last post in Turkey, are many stray animals. Mostly dogs. People will go out daily and set food out for them. The Government will capture the animals and have them fixed, marked and release back to where they were picked up. Here in Sao Paulo, I see many dogs, but the majority of them are on leashes. It is not uncommon to see two or three dogs together on a leash with someone hanging on tightly to them. Cats are different. I rarely see cats. From what I am told, the cats are house animals and so stay inside. I have only seen one stray cat on compound, and the guards went crazy trying to catch it, like it was poisonous. I don’t know what they do with them when they catch them, but they take them seriously.
One more item before we part. Remember our friend Hiwot? She was a young nurse we met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and became good friends with her. She had a devil of a time graduating from nursing school, even though all she had left to do was deliver a baby. She used every trick in the book to postpone it, until an instructor tricked her one day at the hospital. With your permission, I will regal to you what I posted back then.
I once asked her if she ever delivered a baby. She replied back incredulously, that she’s never had a baby, and not even married. I said, “No, have you delivered a baby?” and I even used my hands to imitate delivering a baby, which I don’t even remember how I did it. She replied with another laugh, NO, NO!!
She told me how she helped a woman who was about to give birth, and she felt so sorry for her that she herself began to cry, and laughingly added, it made the patient start crying also.
Then exactly four years ago tonight, May 14th, 2013, I posted this:
Hiwot delivered her first baby! A little girl!
As I have stated before, I am convinced the Creator is a bit ornery. Hiwot pulled some sort of shenanigan to postpone delivering a baby another week; but while she was at the hospital doing her clinical, a young woman came in from “outside city” in labor. Basically, an emergency delivery. The “Midwifer” made her do the delivery because, “I am senior nurse now” (Hiwot) . When she saw the first time mother scared and crying, Hiwot started crying also. The doctor said, “If you cry, you get out!” Hiwot said, “I make myself strong.” But the mother told the doctor, it made her feel good seeing Hiwot crying with her.
Hiwot said the mother held her hand so hard, it felt like she broke it. “When husband asks if mother is okay, I tell him, I think she broke my hand.” The doctor actually gave Hiwot an ice pack to put on it. She says, “I can’t eat well, now”.
There is a great deal more she said, and I do my best to remember. Although her English is rough, Hiwot loves to talk and carries a conversation very well. I just follow every few words.
But, this made Terese and me very happy and we are proud of her. We had a card made up for her and added some birr (Ethiopian money) to it. When we left the restaurant this evening, we left it in the check holder. When we got home, she sent us a text: “I am so happy I don’t have any word to tell you jest thank you so mach.”
I replied back to her, “Thank you for bringing a new beautiful life into the world!”
What really touched me, she told us at the restaurant, “When I hand baby to family, I feel love!”
It’s amazing how people you come across, will enhance your view on Life and all its beauty!
Well, the reason I bring up Hiwot, is because I got a message from her on Facebook as I started writing this. I had not heard from her for quite some time, but I knew she graduated from nursing school and for some reason ended up in Sweden. I don’t know if it was an exchange program or it was for further learning, but when I saw her message tonight, I noticed it came from Birmingham, United Kingdom. Right away she asked about Terese, and I had to tell her the sad news. It took her awhile to reply.
Eventually, I had the chance to ask her what she was doing in the UK. Below is an excerpt of the conversation:
- Dwaine: Hiwot, tell me what you are doing in the UK?
- Hiwot: I’m studying
- D: Are you delivering babies ?
- H: Not yet
- D: Are you going to be a doctor?
- H: Yes I’m trying my best to be
- D: That makes me happy !
- D: I want you to smile when you think about me or Terese.
- H: Yes I did always
- D: When will you graduate?
- H: After 3 years
- D: Okay. I will be waiting for you to be a doctor, so I can come to you when I cut myself.
- H: I wish you a healthy life … No cut
In the back of my mind I always thought she would one day become a doctor, and now I see it may happen. I even asked her back then if she wanted to be a doctor and she replied she did but the cost was too much. I asked her how much and she replied, 5000 birr a month. Realize, that was only $267 a month! I would have loved to pay for that if it were possible, to put someone like her in a position to help others. I have no doubt, that if she succeeds she will eventually become an amazing physician.
Okay. This post got long winded with no pictures. I will edit this, post it and go to bed. Much to do this week. Just remember. Keep kicking butt. D.