domenica 13 febbraio 2011

Language barriers

We are the Cottolengo Mission Hospital Staff and we wish to share with you some funny experiences we had with some of your fellow Italians coming here to help us as volunteers.
Of course we are very grateful to all of them for the great help they give us. But sometimes we have to face some difficulties.
Many of them do not know English at all, and they speak to us in Italian, using even very long sentences. We are pushed by politeness to remain there and to listen; but actually we do not understand what they tell us.
At times that situation may become awkward because they may think that we are not
co-operative. But, as a matter of fact, we never wanted to disobey or to lack respect. We simply never understood.
It would be nice for us to learn Italian, but nobody is offering us classes in Cottolengo. We want to smile with you all, sharing two laughable experiences created by language barrier.
One day we had left an Italian midwife in labour room to follow a delivery. From the corridor we were hearing that volunteer saying many times… and then shouting louder and louder: “giu’…giu’”. The midwife was becoming more and more hot tempered, and we decided to enter to check what the problem was.
In the labor room we have seen the poor antenatal mother trying to raise her back higher and higher: actually she was looking like a bow, touching the bed only with the neck and heels.
We have tried to ask the volunteer what was the matter, and the midwife told us in perfect Italian: “Le ho detto di stare giu’ (I have told her to stay down)”.
We never knew if crying or laughing because giu’ in Kiswahili means up: therefore the antenatal mother was obeying the midwife, but, because of the language barrier, she was doing the wrong thing.
You see how strange it may become, when we don’t understand one another.
Another funny episode happened in dental room.
An Italian doctor knew few words in Kiswahili and he was happy to use them. The problem was that he was sometimes using them in the wrong context. One day he was doing a filling to a molar and he had his finger in the mouth of the patient. The mouth of the client was not opened enough. So he wanted to tell him: “open more”. He decided to use Kiswahili and he requested: “funga” (funga means close, while the volunteer was supposed to use fungua, which means open). Of course the patient did not obey considering the fact that the finger of the doctor was in his mouth. Seeing that the Italian dentist grew inpatient and he repeated very loudly: “funga”. The poor client decided to obey, because he was told again to do so… and he bit that finger very badly. Of course the poor dentist felt a lot of pain. But the unfortunate client simply obeyed a command.
Those funny examples simply underline the importance of a common language which can allow us to understand one another for the better service of our sick people. We have narrated the stories in a joking way, in order to smile a moment together. We wished to have a moment of fun with you all, and we hope you have accepted our fun. We hope everybody has appreciated what we wanted to share. We actually appreciate and miss the volunteers who have come to help us, and to everybody we send our fraternal greetings.

The Cottolengo Mission Hospital Staff

Nessun commento:

Chaaria è un sogno da realizzare giorno per giorno.

Un luogo in cui vorrei che tutti i poveri e gli ammalati venissero accolti e curati.

Vorrei poter fare di più per questa gente, che non ha nulla e soffre per malattie facilmente curabili, se solo ci fossero i mezzi.

Vorrei smetterla di dire “vai altrove, perché non possiamo curarti”.

Anche perché andare altrove, qui, vuol dire aggiungere altra fatica, altro sudore, altro dolore, per uomini, donne e bambini che hanno già camminato per giorni interi.

E poi, andare dove?

Gli ospedali pubblici hanno poche medicine, quelli privati sono troppo costosi.

Ecco perché penso, ostinatamente, che il nostro ospedale sia un segno di speranza per questa gente. Non ci sarà tutto, ma facciamo il possibile. Anzi, l’impossibile.

Quello che mi muove, che ci muove, è la carità verso l’altro, verso tutti. Nessuno escluso.

Gesù ci ha detto di essere presenti nel più piccolo e nel più diseredato.

Questo è quello che facciamo, ogni giorno.

Fratel Beppe Gaido

Guarda il video....