“Such colorful personalities…” I laughed with Bethanie one day as we drove home from the clinic, bouncing along in the CNG.
“Colorful for sure,” she answered ruefully.
The people I work with here in Bangladesh are nothing like the people I have worked with before, and I’m beginning to realize that despite their cultural uniqueness, they aren’t very much like each other, either.
Surely God smiled when He created Adam and Eve and thought about the children they would bear for many generations—every one of us individual and special and every one of us bearing His image, not surface-imprinted like a mold, but like a seed of DNA that blossoms through the generations in each person.
This week one day, one of my coworkers philosophized in the lunch room as I ate my rice, “Each of our nurses has a speci-ality. Each of them is remembered for something. Andrea, she was a very good worker. She did everything carefully and perfectly. Melissa was not like Andrea, but she also had her own speci-ality. Rosemary’s speci-ality was that she gave lice treatments.”
“And my personality?” I asked. “What is my personality?”
“I will not tell you now,” he laughed. “After you leave, I will message you.”
Indeed. I think the nurses are not the only ones with speci-ality.
Yesterday I walked out of the clinic to find that same coworker sitting on a chair, languidly pumping a hand-pump to blow medicated puffs of air through a mask on my patient’s face. I had had to leave in the middle of trying to set up a nebulizer. It hadn’t been working, and apparently it still wasn’t. When the generator or nebulizer machine fail, we pump our nebulizers with a hand pump.
“Let me do that,” I told him.
I half expected him to refuse to hand it over, because most of my coworkers will not allow me to do any physical labor that they can do. This coworker, however, is not most of my coworkers. He has the training to be a Muslim imam, he carries himself with great presence and authority, and he has one of the kindest hearts I have met—but when coffee is calling his name, he heeds it when possible.
And there were two cups of coffee waiting on the table beside him—one for me and one for him. He readily passed the hand-pump to me and sat down to leisurely drink his coffee in the corner. I took the pump handle with both hands and pushed it up and down. Sweat began to run down my face. “This is hard work!” I commented.
He chuckled. “Why do you think I let you do it?”
A moment later I saw another coworker, the youngest of the clinic staff, peer out of the door of the clinic. His face is quiet and gentle, and his voice matches it. His face was distressed, this time, though, as he hurried down the path to where I pumped the nebulizer. “Oh, Alison, let me do it!”
I argued a little, but then handed over the pump. I cannot win in these arguments. And no one goes out of his way to be helpful more than my youngest coworker. He set to work without another word.
Sitting in the corner, my oldest coworker sipped his coffee and smiled at the turn of events. “Now sit and drink your coffee,” he commanded.
The coffee was his gift to me. No one in Bangladesh drinks coffee alone. Therefore, in the presence of friends—one doing my work and one buying me coffee—I sat, and I drank.
And those two friends with me? They each had speci-ality of their own, for sure.