Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
sat by my side and helped translate some of the kids' idiomatic expressions into
Portuguese. Stretched on a banana leaf out in the yard lay Joacir, who was then
3 years old and who weighed only 10 kilos, rather than at least 14. Joacir was “very
sick,” according to “doctor” Angelina, his 5-year-old sister, who pretended she
was giving the little one a shot. Joacir faked a faint cry. The “ambulance driver,”
8-year-old Edson, ran around the opy - the ceremonial house, located right next
to the kitchen - pulling the leaf on the dusty ground, while reproducing orally the
disquieting sound of the vehicle's siren. Suddenly, Angelina transformed herself into
the boy's mother, and sat on the banana leaf to accompany her son to the hospital.
Edson, the driver, did not agree with her decision and tried pulling her off the
ambulance and away from her son. The girl insisted, hugging little Joacir. At that
moment Edson began throwing dirt on top of them. Angelina let go of her son and
ran towards her grandparents' house, followed by Edson. Joacir wiped the dirt off of
his face and dashed through the doorway of the opy himself.
According to Mariano Tupã Mirim, their performance was only a nhe waga ,
in Guarani, or brincadeira , in Portuguese. That is, the kids were only “playing,”
nothing else.
É só brincadeira, nhe waga. They are going to the hospital because the boy is
sick. The ambulance usually comes to the reservation to pick up sick children
and take them to the Mongaguá Hospital. If the child is not too sick, the doctor
gives him a shot and sends him back to the village. If the child is dying, he is
hospitalized, that's all.
The ambulance driver Edson, however, brought to light dramatic details of the
children's role-playing venture when we talked about it that evening. The performance
was not mere fantasy, but an enactment of how the kids interpret the constant
pilgrimage from one hospital to another, since vacancies for the poor are rare. The
boy said they often played ambulance, and that he would be a “real” ( ete ) ambulance
driver himself when he was old enough, to make sure “all the Guarani get a ride.”
Angelina, clarified the boy, did not want her “son” Joacir to ride alone in the
ambulance, because otherwise “she wouldn't know which hospital they took him
to, and would go crazy “( ficar louca ). Edson then explained why he threw dirt on
Joacir: “If you go to the hospital, you die. If you don't go, you die, too. So I was
burying him at the cemetery already.” “And what were you singing?” I asked the
boy. “I was singing Xekyvy'i.” Mariano Tupã Mirim translated the words:
Xekyvy'i Xekyvy'i
My little brother, my little brother
Ereo rire
You have gone
Ejevy voi ja'a aguâ
Come back soon
Ja'a mavy
So that we can go together
Venerating God
Para rovai jajerojy
To the other side of the ocean.
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