February 12, 2010 How Does an Indian Scream?
Last night J. was spending time with me while I was fixing dinner. It happened to be a dish that used many different flavors and smells, so I was letting him smell all the different ingredients: coconut milk, limes, fresh ginger, garlic, etc. As I was cutting up the limes he asked me about people in Peru using limes on all their cuts.
In January Alan had gone on a mission trip with some of his college students to Peru to a group of native Indians in the Amazon. While they were there, one of the girls had been burned pretty severely. The team was trying to rest the burn in water, but the people they were staying with insisted that was the wrong treatment. They took her hand out of the water and squeezed fresh lemon over the burn. At that time, Alan decided to charter a boat back to town (a 6-8 hour ride) to seek medical help.
While he was there he was visiting with the missionary’s wife about the ordeal. She told him that the people used lemon for everything. They thought of it as a fix all. One day there was a man with pink eye, and someone squirted lemon juice into his eye as a cure.
He asked, “I wonder how Indians scream?” (He was thinking about the man who had pink eye.)
“What do you mean J.?”
He screamed while lightly patting his mouth with his hand. (Like when you were a kid and you pretended to be an Indian.)
I was tickled. I tried to explain how they scream like everyone else. They are people, and pain is the same no matter the culture, language or background. There is no translation for, “MY EYE IS KILLING ME BECAUSE YOU JUST SQUIRTED LEMON JUICE IN IT.”
It’s a hard task to raise your kids with an open worldview. Such a diverse bunch, humanity is. In every region of every country we all approach life in such different ways. Much like the food I was cooking last night, we should celebrate diversity and differences and seek to understand one another. In trying to clear up on misconception it revealed an entirely different misunderstanding.
I would like to say that I got J. all straightened out, but I am certain I didn’t. As a side note I was sharing with our oldest about this post and what J. had said. I asked her, “how does and Indian scream?” Her reaction was exactly the same. Back to square one.