The miseducation of the bahiano

I lived in beloved Bahia on and off for 5 years. Beloved because I have always been treated fairly well by Bahia. My best friends live here and life seems to be overall easier in Bahia. However, one has to get used to the bahianos!

Anything, from finding an electrician to buying bread can be hell! Don’t get me wrong, Bahianos are great people considering they manage to get along fine amongst all the excessive partying and drinking, bad education, worse manners, radically different religious beliefs and a mixture of races you wouldn´t believe. But, they are terrible when it comes to getting things done or respecting the most basic rules of society.

Standing in a queue in Bahia can be like being at war. People will snuggle in behind you, stick their foot in front of you and generally jump the queue in your face. Seldom are the time I stood in line and did not have to shout, argue or violently nudge someone to keep my place.
As I sat in the bus the otherday, with my shoulder tucked snugly in someone´ss crotch and a whiff of B.O coming from an armpit on my forehead tickling my nostrils, I wondered why bahianos are so unique.

The answer came to me as I was watching a television programme the other day, that said that Brazilians politicians are corrupt because of a lack of good manners. They are not ashamed of stealing (much like a criminal is not ashamed because no one taught him it is shameful). I fully understood the dimension of this problem as I watched a “bahiana” mother with her 7 kids and absolutely no interest in their well-being. These people are raised by parents who think God controls everything. They take absolutely no responsibility for their acts and are generally stoiled rotten in the sense that they can do as they please and are not repremanded by anyone, ever. They grow without affection (leading to premature pregnancy and promiscuity), without rules (leading to criminality) and without a decent education (leading to lack of manners and awareness of standard social behaviour).

On the other hand, people who have received both affection and limits from their parents (usually through physical punishment for misbehaviour and love and respect of their parents) are completely different. They are truly blessed souls that make it all worthwhile.

In bahia this problem seems to increase as most people are poor, have lots of undesired kids and public education is a joke.

Simple things like standing in a queue, finding an electrician or builder can be a nightmare when simple rules and standards are completely ignored.

So, when you do find something that works stick to it with all your strength, and reward it as often as possible.
So far, I have found a fantastic guy to fix my washing machine, a great supermarket, a wonderful mobile phone provider, a decent builder and an amazing Japanese bank attendant! I constantly let them know they are priceless to me and always praise and recommend them.


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