Blogging Challenge – Day 3

“Madam, le lijiye, yeh nimbu ghar ke pedh se hai.” (Here, take some lemons, they are from the trees at home.)

“Indha poo naane thoduthen. Vechukongo.” (I strung these flowers into a gajra. Please take them.”

These were just some of the many conversations at a monthly medical camp I volunteered at when I was in Muscat. Organised and spearheaded by the SAI Group, it was attended a number of expatriate women from different religions and nationalities, mostly domestic help who did not have access to any kind of medical care.

I didn’t have to do much. Just check their weight, write down BP and blood sugar readings and direct them to the doctors at the camp. Once it was done, we offered them coffee or tea and biscuits and had our own little chit-chats. It was held on a Friday, mostly a half-day off for most of them, but they still took a bus or cab to attend the camp. Sometimes, a few of us picked up them  up, or dropped them off at central points from where they would then go onto their everyday lives, taking care of households, and waiting for that elusive trip back to their home countries.

While they were at the camp, they were all cheerful and full of banter. Despite the numerous health complications, one could feel that sense of positivity shining through. And also, commitment. One had a daughter to marry off or send for higher studies, another had a home to build, most of them had huge families to support… and all of them were chasing that golden pot at the end of the rainbow… through the big Gulf dream.

When some of the women couldn’t afford complex treatment, scans or even expensive medication, doctors and volunteers stepped in. Each case was followed up and solutions suggested.

You would say that we were all doing a noble deed. But I think it was the other way around. These women taught me more than I had ever learned in 20 years of my career. They battled adversity with optimism…they revelled in the happy moments of everyday life, with hearts full of love.

While leaving, they would thrust into our hands, bags of lemons or mangoes, a gajra or two strung with fragrant jasmine, and smile…

“God bless you! Agle mehne milenge!” they would say. We would smile too… that infectious smile that has now made us a little more understanding, a little more empathetic and filled our hearts with a little more love.

Deen dukhiyon se prem karo… mera Sai prasanna hoga…


One thought on “Serve with a smile…

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