A bed is a bed if it is a bed to you

I had a beautiful and powerful time in Dadim last fall when I stayed and worked for two months on the emergency feeding program during the drought. Upon returning back to Awassa ‘city’ I was very happy to be re-united with Mark and to be back at Bushulo clinic with my patients and co-workers, but in some ways it was a difficult adjustment as a part of me longed for the people of Dadim. There is something magical about the pastoralists, their lifestyle and the rugged terrain of their lands that really draws one in.

Perhaps it is witnessing moments like this:

I went with Sr. Annie on a Friday evening to the clinic to see a mother and her 9 month old daughter, who were both admitted with pneumonia. When we entered the room, the mother was sitting holding her child awkwardly on the edge of the bed. Sr. Annie asked for my help to move the mattress to the floor, where the mother might be more comfortable. After moving the mattress, the mother sat on the edge of it just as awkwardly as before. It is likely she had never seen a ’bed’ (as we know them) before. A moment later two boys strolled in with animal skins tucked under their arms. Sr. Annie looked at them and then turned her face towards me and whispered ‘no problem, let them do it their way’. We watched silently, as the mother took the animal skins, spread them out on the floor next to the bed and then laid down on them with her child. In a moment they were both peacefully asleep.

Such a different way of life!

We can all adapt to many different places and people, but how much we find comfort in our own familiar things, foods, language and habits that will always fill our hearts with peace. I had shared this story with a friend and she commented what a gift it is if we can pause and step back – then we truly get to see the world from another’s view not ours. How easily we often jump in with eagerness to talk or share something of ourselves, our thoughts, our ideas but how much we may miss in doing that.