Wednesday, September 15, 2010


"Cigano" is the word for gypsy in Portuguese.

When my first child was born, 11 years ago, on the same day, a gypsy child was born, too. My boy was big, 3.6 kg, 51 cm. The gypsy baby was a premature weighing 1 kg, the nurses told me. Nobody knew whether he would survive, and the whole family was obviously very nervous.

The next day I was in hospital, my boy was crying too much, and I was by myself at that moment. So, in spite of having undergone a c-section the day before, I decided to take the baby for a walk in the corridor. Next to my room was the gypsy family´s room.

When I passed by, with my little boy in my arms, for some reason they all came to the door. Now, everybody is suspicious of gypsyes, it seems. There is a whole folklore around them. I decided that was stupid and I was going to talk to them.

I stoped and asked how the baby was doing. There was an old woman in the back of the group and she smiled to me and said they were all praying. I told her I don´t pray, but I would certainly, with a mother´s heart, wish for the baby to make it and be healthy. She thanked me and looked at my son and wished him the best. We did some small talk and when I was going back to my room (the nurses were staring already) she held my arm and said some good fortune things like you´ll be very happy etc. Then she said thank you for talking to us, and I knew she really meant it, although I thought she had nothing to thank me for. We were two human beings, being what we´re supposed to be: human.

I don´t know whether the baby survived, and I haven´t seen that gypsy family after that, but I keep asking myself what stupid, horrible society is that we have built, that makes a human being feel so despised and isolated as to thank another for talking to her.

I´m still sad to learn that, of all countries in the world, the land of  "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité", in the person of its president, has expelled human beings from the French territory for the single fact of them being gypsies.

Sad. Not surprised.