Day 14 – Have Faith

Finally, I have a set timetable.

Mornings I wander with some vague aim of pestering other PTs between 8 and 9 to gain some more ideas and eyeing up their handling or questioning them on goals or symptoms. Then at 9 – or some time thereabouts because I realise that every single ward has a different clock time within a 20 min range – my patient arrives, and I treat him 9-10. Then we have breakfast 10-10:30 taken from the cafeteria or the little cart manned by an amazing little woman who takes money, pours tea and serves food all at once. 10:30-11:15 I treat a patient from the women’s ward and then 11:15 to 12 I hope to gain another patient tomorrow. Finally, 12-1pm is writing notes and my educator has assured me I can write them in whatever format I know.

Again, I asked my patient what he wanted to do today, and we eventually got down to lower limb strengthening. Then 5 minutes in he started to gesture with his hands – reaching forward, grasping and then pulling inwards before extending and releasing his hands towards his legs. I asked Diti to come and translate and he was saying he waited for Allah to give strength to his legs. I discussed the answer to this with my parents later as I’d sort of just replied with ‘Uh, right, ok.’ And smiled. As Islam is not my belief I didn’t think I could reply using his words?

I’ve had a fair few conversations now with others concerning religion because this is a very Islamic country with a smattering of Hinduism and everyone expects you to have a religion, and they are very accepting of your beliefs. Unless.

I can’t say I have a particular belief. Irisa has said she believes in science which is a good answer because when I was first asked my religion, the man was shocked and said I should not admit that I have no faith and from then onwards I’ve said my belief is Christian which is fairly expected for a British person. Others have said that I should be free to have my own ideas but Irisa has also come across others who gain a sort of pity towards you for not having something to believe in. It is very mixed in view here.

But what is quite uplifting is their Islamic belief. Prayer is announced 5 times a day all over the country through different speakers at different mosques and people are fairly respectful by bringing down the noise when playing sport for example. The girls I’ve talked to about their Hijab explain very strongly that it is their choice and they value their faith very highly. They also find the month of Ramadan very purifying and it brings joy to their lives rather than what I think of as being hungry and dehydrated. But talking with them about it almost makes me want to try with them as Ramadan comes up next month.

I quote Irisa by saying that I believe in science. And I think next time I will say to the patient: this is my belief, and I am going to use it to help heal him because I think that the point of faith is to draw strength from it. Allah, God, science and other great persons are all one the same if they strive for the same purpose in life, whatever that may be.

No photos today, sorry!

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