Monday, April 13, 2009

back to life.

we're finally in santiago.

back to a regular routine, nap times and beds that are comfortable.
we had a fairly non-eventful trip to my in-laws place - samil played with pigs and chickens and i did some reading.

the pictures are in the camera that i supposedly had left in the campo but miraculously found in our suitcase this morning. apparently a camera and camera charger/cable are the same thing to my semi-literate step-mother in law who called two hours after we left her house in a panic because i had left the camera on the table. i'm not sure what camera she was looking at, but thankfully it wasn't mine. however, i'm now without the cable to charge my camera and we won't see them for another month. hopefully we won't miss too many photo-ops.

it was an uncomfortable trip in that while i try really hard to adapt to some cultural... barriers, that i have, i am completely floored by the ability of someone to put "party" expenses before their children's needs. there's a lot that comes with that statement - the idea that just because your daughter has sex with someone means that she is "married", early teen pregnancy is "just what happens" and then it is expected for the couple to partake in tons of customs that cost a lot of money in order to appease the community of their "sin."

i have an 18year old step-brother-in-law who "married" a 13 year old last december. and by married i mean slept with her and then was forced to take her away and live with her. since her mom told her that birth-control pills are a myth, she didn't take them and now they are the proud parents of a two month old boy whose name is so strange i never remember it. she's not working. he doesn't have a real job. yet, somehow, they are supposed to take care of this boy. oh, and wait, she "can't" breastfeed because her mom told her it was bad for her boobs. as in, her boobs would no longer be young and supple in she let a kid suck milk from them. so, the added expense of being married, not working, paying for diapers and ... well, formula all adds up.

my anger, i think, was justified, when i found out that the baby was "baptized" this weekend. another bizarre stretch of the catholic church's ancient doctrine that says unbaptized babies don't go to heaven and therefore need to "have water thrown on them" asap. and that's what it is. throwing water on a baby's head while some people watch and someone says a prayer.


then, they have a party. with rum and beer and dancing and sancocho. lots of sancocho. everybody loves a party, right? so why was i angry?

well, see, the baby hasn't had any milk for three days because they needed that money to have the party. and you can't baptize without a party. and if you don't baptize your baby will go to purgatory forever and in the long run you just have to pay more money to get the soul to heaven. follow the logic?

and you're wrong if you think that that thought process doesn't still exist in the minds of un(der)educated third world catholics. because it does.

and to make matters worse, they've been giving this kid sugar water and strawberry juice that has left him with a delicious mess of bleeding diaper rash. and red diarrhea.

i've learned not to interfere in family "affairs" and much less in those of the "stepbrothers" who amalio doesn't even really count as family since his step-mother (who he only refers to as his dad's woman or girlfriend) is only three years older than him and the boys were grown when she "married" his dad. i said what i could, offered some desitin to the ailing hiney and was uncomfortable for the rest of the visit.

because i know that everything i think about them in the negative they think about us in the negative. their kids have nothing, mine have too much. school has no importance for them, while it has too much for us. and everything is phrased in ways so that we know they think we're wrong without actually saying it - and art of subtlety that i've yet to master. "babies are prettier when they don't have long hair," "it's better to give him three bottles of milk and less food so he gets all his vitamins," "babies are more well behaved when you punish them with spankings."

and while everything they think we're doing wrong seems so right to us, i know that it doesn't make sense to them. much like letting their baby starve to have a party or suffer diaper rash because cleaning some poop from a blanket is too much work doesn't make sense to me.

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