Mute

Toni White - Brazil


October 14, 2010

Imagine:

Them: “Oi, qual é o seu nome?”
Me: “ Huh”, “Nome?”
Them: “Qual é o seu nome?”
Me: “Toni”

Pause

Them: “Quais são algumas coisas que você gosta?”
Me:  I dont understand what she is saying “ I dont speak Portuguege.”
Them: “Quais são algumas coisas que você gosta de comer?”
Me: What is she sayin?
Them: “Frango, carne, sorvete de peixe, os cookies?”
Me: I want to know if she has any children, does she have a pet, or how from the school does she live. But, i have No Words.

Imagine a young woman on a quest to see the world. Her next stop is a place far away from home. A place full of beautiful people and great music.  This place is home to the second largest population of Africans.  With the perfect combination of a great personality, determination, and a sprinkle of karma, she is ready to embark on a journey into a new culture. She already read a few articles and understands the basics of her new home. Due to her inquisitiveness , she is filled with questions. How will  most of the people live?  What makes them different than me?  With one  foot off of the plane she is ready to seek out the answers to her questions.

She has traveled many times before and met people from all walks of life. Family and friends will say that she enjoys talking to people and finds delight in listening to their story. Some admire her willingness to ask questions which range from general to personal.

Forty hours later -She finds herself seated across from her host mother.  She watches as the lady opposite of her moves her mouth. She knows that the lady’s lips moves to form words, words in which she cannot comprehend.  These words are words that wecome her, words that seek her origins, words that introduce her new family. Yet to her these are words she has never heard before, words she cannot respond to, words  that have no meaning.  She sits there listening to unknown people converse as they they speak in words that are foreign to her. The girl who was  once filled with words and questions now only holds onto four words and one question. What are they saying?  The only thing she can deem as familiar is the food that she is given to eat.  Then it  appears to her the one word that can describe how she feels is Mute.

Not having the ability to speak or understand those around her, she is forced to refer to herself as a mute.  Refrained from speaking, she now realizes the importance of words. She was always comfortable when speaking to others beacuse she was assured  that she could rely on her words to convey who she was. But now her words go unheard and because there is no one to understand them, her words are only sounds in this new place.  The more she thinks about her new state of being she begins to question herself.

How will you survive here for seven months? How will you communicate with your new family? How will you find the way to ask your questions?  As more questions began to surface the one question that stood out the most was; will i ever pass through this feeling of being mute?

She is me. And I still ask myself that question everyday as i prepare myself to survive another day in Brazil.  Soon enough the sounds will turn into words and i will be able to understand their stories in hopes of answering my questions.

Mute: Refraining from producing speech or vocal sound.

You will not realize the importance of your every word unstill you hit in the face with none. Within you, you hold the ability to speak so let each word count!

Toni White