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Ramadan

Written by Antje on June 29th 2016 22:53

It’s now right in the middle of the rainy season. Most days there’s a pretty heavy shower. Occasionally it rains the whole day long, but that’s quite rare here in the north. When it’s raining or just cloudy, it’s usually cooler, which is nice. But the humidity also rises. It sometimes feels like the air wraps itself round me like a warm blanket.
 
The rice was already harvested a few weeks ago. In preparation for the next harvest, the rice has already been sown in small fields. Next month it will be planted out. 
 
We are counting the days to the end of Ramadan and we are more than half way there. The sugar feast (called here Eid) will be celebrated on the 6th or 7th of July. What makes things complicated is that we’ll know which of these two days it’s going to be held on, only if the new moon is or is not visible on the 5th. Particularly hard to plan free days with such uncertainty. The majority of our Bangladeshi doctors are Muslim, and will therefore want to have this day free. So we have made two different rotas for July: one with Eid on the 6th, and one with Eid on the 7th…. 
 
It’s quieter than usual in the hospital. It is difficult for patients to travel the whole day to get here if they haven’t eaten or drunk anything. It’s also hard for our Muslim staff. Not only working the whole day without eating or drinking, but also getting up in the middle of the night to pray, and eating very early in the morning before the daily fast begins again. It’s no surprise that in the second half of the month fuses are rather shorter than usual. 
 
During Ramadan most street vendors are closed during the day or draw curtains across their displays, this is an attempt to reduce temptation as much as possible. Non-Muslims, people who are unwell and children do not have to fast.
Ramadan_01.jpg
 
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The ending of the fast, early in the evening (Iftar), is accompanied by lots of traditional dishes. This is one of the food tents opposite our hospital. Provisions are displayed there in the afternoon so that people can buy and take them home. 
Ramadan_03.jpg
 
This week I was invited together with a few other people to the home of one of our colleagues. Each of us received a plate filled with individually prepared snacks. We waited and watched for the first 15 minutes because you can’t eat until sunset. It is always special to be invited to share in the lives of others. 
Ramadan_04.jpg