Covid, cancer can’t stop Mrs Santa Claus in Brazil
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, Dec 10, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Despite the coronavirus
pandemic and her recent battle with cancer, Fatima Sanson was determined to
keep her Christmas tradition of dressing up as Mrs Claus and giving out toys
and hugs to impoverished kids.
So the 61-year-old made herself a plastic “hug curtain,” found an
assistant to disinfect it between embraces, dressed up in her bright red
suit, and set up her annual toy and food giveaway in a poor neighborhood in
Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil.
“It felt so good to be able to give hugs again during the pandemic,” said
Sanson, who has spent nearly five decades doing charitable work in
She was all too aware of the risk involved this year.
Not only does her age put her in the high-risk group for Covid-19, but the
pandemic began just as she was coming off a fight with breast cancer.
Brazil has the second-highest Covid-19 death toll worldwide, after the
United States, with more than 178,000 people killed.
But neither the virus nor the protective layer of plastic got in the way as
Sanson spread her Christmas cheer to her young public.
“I really liked getting a nice, warm hug from Mrs Claus,” said one of the
children, Daphne Victoria.
Parents for their part took home baskets full of food — especially
welcome this year, given that low-income workers have been hit hard by the
economic fallout of the pandemic.
“I hope better days are coming and that next year we’ll be able to give
real hugs, be able to feel that human warmth that everyone’s been missing,”
said one mother at the charitable event, house cleaner Valmira Pereira.
Sanson was happy to be able to give hugs at all.
“It’s so good to hug and be hugged. We’re ‘infecting’ each other with our
hugs, our affection, our love,” she said.