Some awesome modesty

by Linda Zimmermann/LKO,  2014/01/14

“The true joy is frugality”, that’s what Wolfgang von Goethe explained us. With these few words he drafts an idea of man, who can only reach contentment by renouncing unnecessary things and by concentrating on the essential things.

But when does man really live in a frugal way? If he concentrates only on the necessary things? Or if he simple doesn’t possess as much as the others? It becomes clear that the definition of frugality will always be difficult as well as inexact.

However, humedica coordinator Linda Zimmermann has met a woman during her work in the Ethiopian refugee camp Melkadida, whose character could be a good definition of frugality. Because, despite her life under very difficult conditions, she is contented.

“In front of me, lying on her bed, there is a very slim and seemingly fragile woman, who is putting forth her hands to greet me. “In 10 years I will be 100”, is her answer to my question about her age. She grins – she is evidently happy about the visit.

Despite her 90 years of age and the difficult living conditions, Halima hasn’t lost her smile. Photo: humedica/Linda Zimmermann

“In fact, she is always in a good mood”, explains humedica nurse Mohamed, who is in charge of the home visits and who has visited this patient regularly for several months.

For about four weeks now, Mohamed has treated an open wound at Halima’s haunches and thighs. One can only guess, how dolorous this injury must have been, but now the worst seems to have passed. The pains have clearly decreased and Mohamed seems satisfied, when he changes the dressings.

I had to bend down when entering Halima’s hut and even inside it is hardly high enough to stand upright. The room is naked. Apart from a bed with a used mattress and a small stool, there is no other furniture or other things on the sandy soil.

The construction material consists of twigs and tarpaulin, which do neither protect from the burning sun, nor from the hard rain and storms which appear more and more often now. It is difficult to imagine life exclusively inside these four walls.

So it is even more remarkable to see Halima’s optimism, if you know that she hasn’t been able to move her legs for more than two years now and that she has to spend most of her time lying on her bed. Since her arrival in Melkadida twelve months ago, she has hardly left her hut and has been cared for by the humedica staff since the beginning.

“I am very happy about this help”, says Halima. “Without any medical care, life in a refugee camp isn’t easy and for me, it is difficult to travel on a donkey cart the whole way to the health station. It is great that I’m spared this, thanks to Mohamed’s visits.”

Apparently, visitors are always welcome in Halima’s hut. When we arrive, a relative is sitting next to her bed, to keep company to the old lady. A little bit later, a dozen of children, who are listening to our conversation attentively, are crowding into the small place. And thanks to Halima’s contentment and positive charisma, everybody seems to enjoy coming.

“It wouldn’t be bad to have more money”, she answers, when we ask her about her wishes. “I would buy a new mattress.” Then she stops, thinks and continues: “Besides this, I cannot think about anything more.” When we leave, she holds my hand for a long time and laughs.

Then her eyes are sparkling – yes, she has another idea, what she would need: “If you could bring me a new tooth … that would be great!”

People used to Western standards can hardly imagine life in an Ethiopian refugee camp like Melkadida. They don’t know about lacking hygiene, unavailable furniture or irregular meals.

People like Halima are therefore all the more amazing, because they keep their optimism despite the bad circumstances and they look forward.
Please continue your support of our commitment in Ethiopia with a directed donation and offer new hope to other inhabitants of Melkadida, too. Thank you very much!

      humedica e.V.
      Reference "Famine Relief"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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