The man stared into my eyes. "If we do this, we could get thrown in jail." In my peripheral vision I saw the teenage girl with us nodding in affirmation. "Do you still want to?" He asked. I took a deep breath and decided.
But before we get to my decision, let me set the stage a bit. Saturday I was able to visit with several Syrian refugees and enjoyed the time ever so much. The first home we entered had a three-week-old baby I got to cuddle - which in itself makes for a good day!
A little girl in one home was sick, so her mother asked me to assess her and offer medical advice, which I of course was happy to do.
As the Egyptian man gave the first address to our cab driver, the Jordanian girl looked over at me and said, "Wow, they live in a disaster area! Even before the war started that was a bad part of town." We all looked at each other and shrugged. We'll go wherever they have need. Plus we had a man with us - so culturally appropriate! We had large, heavy packages for each house. The woman at the first house told us the next was only a few blocks away and assured us there was no need to call a taxi.
Ha! I guess SHE hadn't done her math to figure out that 40 degrees Celsius is over 100 degrees Farenheit!. Just sayin'.
The poor man got the brunt of it. Gallantly heaving the bulky box over his shoulder, he led us girls to the other house in the hot, hot, heat. On block number three I saw sweat pouring down his back and the girl’s face and basic nursing training stepped in. “Hey guys, I have a couple water bottles in my purse. Why don’t we stop and drink so we don’t get heat exhaustion or dehydrated or anything of that ilk?”
That’s when it happened. The looks of surprise. Both of them, staring at me.
The man stared into my eyes, “If we do this, we could get thrown in jail.” In my peripheral vision I saw the teenage girl with us nodding in affirmation. Why on earth would we get thrown in jail? I queried. “Because it’s illegal to eat or drink on the street during Ramadan,” came the answer. I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat or drink in front of people during Ramadan for politeness’ sake, but I didn’t know it could make me a prisoner!
“Do you still want to?” The question came. I took a deep breath and decided.
Decided to let my national partners choose. :D I’ve found that, in general, the locals know best! After contemplating the options, they decided that if we stepped away from the road and surreptitiously sipped we’d probably be fine.
I went with it. I drank water on the side of the road during Ramadan. And I didn’t get thrown into prison. Neither, by the way, did either of my companions drop into the dusty street with heat exhaustion or dehydration. I’d say that was a win/win (shout out for Heather).