Brazil Mystery #4 – The “Talita” Kid

Photo by Paul Hart

The absence of doorbells on Brazilian houses is more common than you’d expect. When you come to a house without a doorbell, you have three options for getting the resident’s attention:

  1. Clap repeatedly
  2. Yell their name
  3. Call them from your cell phone to say “I’m here. Open the door.”

Unfortunately, Christian’s parents’ house lacks a doorbell, and is also set way far back from the gate so clapping is not really an option. Not wanting to spend my cell phone credit, I resort to option #2 – but I always feel super self-conscious putting my face up to the gate and shouting “MAINHA!!!” – imagining that I’m disturbing the peace for all the neighbors. It’s even worse when I have to yell two or three times, only to discover that they’re not home.

Well, there’s one kid somewhere in the cluster of houses behind and below mine who doesn’t give up so easily. Several times a week, I hear him yelling something that sounds like:


…over and over. He shouts it like 20 times. I don’t know if it’s someone’s name, or what – but I feel like yelling down from my kitchen window, “DUDE! Either she has a hearing impairment, or she’s not home, or she doesn’t want to see you!”

I sometimes walk home along the street where this occurs, and I’m hoping someday to catch a glimpse of the Talita Kid and find out why he’s yelling.


  • For some reason, that reminds me of the scene from Life is Beautiful when Roberto Benigni yells, “Maria! The key!” and the landlady drops the key down to him, much to the astonishment of his future wife!

    • Shayna

      Even better: I have a friend nicknamed “Jesus” who was staying in the 2nd floor of a house without a doorbell. So we had to look up and yell “JESUS!!!” to get him to open up!

  • Lol. You remind me of Encyclopedia Brown’s Brazilian side kick: Bahiana Sally Kimball.
    The Talita kid is Bugs Meany.

    Loved this.

    • Shayna

      Ah man, I used to love the Encyclopedia Brown books! Also the Hardy Boys. Was never a Nancy Drew fan.

      • How about “The Great Brain”?.
        My all time favorite and the only reason I know that Provo is in Utah.

  • You left out that you’re supposed to yell “O de casa!” as you clap your hands 🙂

    One of the best things about opening my store was escaping the tween who used to roll up and yell: “Natalia! Natalia! … Natalia! … Natalia! …… Na-talia! …….. Natalia! Natalia! … Natalia!”


    • Shayna

      Oh right! I forgot about “O de casa.” I usually yell names, since I figure “O de casa” could make any of the neighbors come running. Or… ambling. We are in Bahia, after all 😉

      I just don’t get why they have to yell 18,000 times before giving up or until the person answers. Maybe the Talita Kid is the Natalia Tween’s little brother!

  • Lucas

    I am not one of those guys that usually checks blogs and keep on with thoughts and so on, but your blog is pretty interesting. Even for me, a brazillian! (São Luis – MA)
    Just commenting to say “Talita” or “Thalita” (it’s pretty common to see “Thalitas” too, even though the “h” is silent) is, indeed, a name. 😛

    • Shayna

      Glad you’ve enjoyed reading my blog, Lucas 🙂 I haven’t met anyone named Talita or Thalita, but now that I know it’s a name, part of the mystery is solved!

  • Talita

    Hi Shayna,
    I just discovered your blog and have been laughing pretty hard at some of your posts. I really enjoyed reading it all thus far. My name is Talita which means “Little Girl” . The name comes from the Latin version of the Bible and it was pretty popular in the 80’s. I am originally from Sao Paulo but live in Mount Vernon, WA and some of your posts will help me explain Brazil to some of my friends here so for that THANK YOU lol.

    • Amazing! You’re the first real-life Talita I’ve encountered. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my posts 🙂