Give and be Given, Sucre
by Stephen Nagy
Sucre is not a "give and take" world as much as most feel in life in general. I did two little things last week without having to think and certainly without much effort. As I was walking down the street, a lady got off a bus carrying three heavy bags of produce and stuff, so heavy she had to stop and put them down and rest and struggle a few more feet before repeating. "Señora, por favor" I asked if I could help. Hell I am six feet and still strong, easy for me but so hard for her. So in just a block or so we got to the door of her destination, but the "gracias señor, gracias" was sooo genuinely warm it kind of made my day.
Then a couple of days later I was caught in a pretty heavy rain and came walking up on a woman carrying a baby. Again a no brainer. I offer the shelter of my umbrella as we walked a couple of blocks together, such a warm and extending genuine smile and thank you.....the depth of warmth and honesty magnifies the eyes of gratitude that I have just never felt before.
"Gracias" has such a deep meaning here as of course we like to hear "thanks" and those of us brought up to be chivalrous know the sense of satisfaction doing little polite things. But the general sense and practice of a very gracious and honest thank you in Sucre is without comparison to almost anywhere.
Every single time I talk to, and buy from, a vender my business is always topped off with a most convincing "Gracias Señor." Now that I am in Bolivia my impression of Bolivians working in the States has been validated. They are very polite and warm hearted.
Beyond street and vendor meetings for me has been the warm reception as a foreigner and the fast friends I have had the privilege to meet.
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