Three verdicts on fasting

August 19, 2011

Today I found myself chatting with my three main nurses at the central clinic in my market town. My counterpart nurse, who mans the tiny dispensary in my village and with whom I spend the most time, gave me a ride into town after we made the usual Friday visit to the satellite clinic in my village Just Over the Hill. At the central clinic we found both the head nurse, the Nurse Major, and the regular nurse. The Nurse Major is my favorite counterpart of them all–a really nice man who’s just like an uncle.

As we went through the normal pleasantries and hellos, of course the question came up of whether I was fasting or not. I replied that no, I wasn’t, and I’ve only fasted one day so far during this Ramadan. Maybe I’ll do another day soon…

My Nurse Major smiled and said, “A day at the beginning and a day at the end would be nice, plenty!”

My counterpart nurse insisted quite forcely, “There’s freedom in religion, you don’t have to fast.”

And the other nurse, a gruff man who’s grown on me quite a lot since we started to open up to each other, exclaimed, “One day, baraka! Enough!” I get the feeling fasting is a bit hard on him, especially since he normally takes smoking breaks throughout the day at work.

I enjoyed hearing their different bits of advice, each so much like the man’s individual personality.

The conversation made me think, again, about how I’m thankful to live in a place where the vast majority of people respect religious differences and refrain from pressuring others to conform to their own beliefs and customs.

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~ by marjmallow on August 19, 2011.

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