Thursday, 2 February 2012

Feeling poorly, visitors and grapes!

Just when I think I understand a bit more of the culture here, something new happens and I realise how different this culture is to my own. A few weeks ago I fell over in the rain and hurt my back. I felt so embarrassed. I thought only old women and small children fall over! My back hurt for a good couple of weeks. One evening, a knock on my door came and there stood 3 girls from the church. They had come to visit me because I was “sick”. They brought me a bag of fruit and it was really kind. However I am sure my face showed real confusion. So many things ran through my mind about how I was to handle this situation. Had they planned to stay for a cup of coffee? Did they want to have something to eat? Should we sit on the sofas or at the table? Should I sit and talk with them or be preparing something in the kitchen? Should I tell them more about my Ecuadorian family here or ask them about their days at work? It was such a cultural difference. Here, people, mainly the women in church, will visit “the sick” in groups. Not just 1 or 2 women but 4, 6, 8 women at a time! Imagine if you were really poorly, in bed. Would you want a group of people to visit you?

Someone in the family I am living with has recently had an operation. She came home on the Saturday afternoon. That weekend all of her extended family came to visit. Some travelled 8 hours, others 12 hours, just for a 24 hour visit to see her. They made sure her cupboards were stocked with food and they ate a meal and left. The lady who is poorly just loved having people around. Throughout the week, visitors have come and gone. Some just for 10 minutes, others for an hour or so. All visiting, bringing fruit. I have seen such kindness (and so much fruit! We have joked we may set up a fruit shop!) The lady has loved having people around. I wonder if it is just me that thinks if I was really ill, would I really like constant visitors or actually, would prefer a bit of quiet space to rest and recuperate. Is that my personality or my culture?  

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