01 May 2008 – Living in Palestine and working with the local people, has urged me to think several times about my relationship with the material aspect of things, with the idea of belongings. How much they mean in my life, how much the idea of happiness and fulfillment are connected with what I have, what I own.
This challenge came to my mind today after visiting a family of 7 who suddenly, one morning at 6.00, they saw bulldozers coming and demolishing their house within minutes and without allowing them to take anything from inside. Now they live under a tent and on the open roof of a neighbor's house. Even to get water, all of them, including the 8 month pregnant mother, need to walk far with buckets to bring water for the basic needs. Their only belongings now are some old mattresses to sleep under the stars and basic clothes for the kids.
A month ago I was traveling back to Athens to visit my parents and I almost lost my luggage. For an hour I was sure that I will not get it back, till a young man handed it over to me. During this hour, I was feeling sad and disappointed, wondering why I had to be so unlucky. All this ‘cause of some clothes and shoes that I thought I had lost.
After my visit to this family today I felt that I owe to re-arrange my priorities in life, what really matters and what is just for show off. For some people having a roof above their head or running water is a luxury. For me is a de facto that I need to appreciate more in order to understand better my patients when they are trying to adapt to a tough reality and also to make my life more meaningful.
Photo: Elina Palakanou, MSF. | Palestinian grandparents.