Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Sweets...

It is funny how we feel a certain liberty to say what we want out loud when we think no one around us understands…

Have you ever traveled to a country where people speak a different language and don’t understand yours?

That can be dangerous…

The other day during one of our visits to a hospital here in Namibia…

“Where are you from?” I begin the conversation with a lady that had such a sad and anguished face. She stares blankly and looks very lonely and distressed.

“I come from the north.” She responds turning her attention to me.

“What happened to you? Why are you here?” I ask.

She shows me her bandaged arm and says that she was brought to Windhoek in a hurry as the hospital in the north didn’t have the resources to care for her and she needed an operation…

We continue talking and she tells me about how she had to come in a rush and didn’t have anything or anyone to visit her.

She didn’t even have soap to take a shower, a change of clothes, toothpaste, nothing at all. I was moved, for she wasn’t asking me for anything, she was just opening up…

Since there were 6 to 8 people all in the same room, we spoke a little bit more, we prayed for her and prayed for the other ladies in the room. I knew what I must do once we left that room…

I, along with the other pastor’s wives that were with me on that day, looked for a nearby shop where we could purchase basic toiletries for that lady.

We found the shop and each one of us looked for something: soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, under garments, etc…

On our way to the cash register, our basket full of items, I remembered the other ladies in the hospital room and picked up bags of sweets to give them. I was full of sweets in my arms and headed to the line to pay along with my friends…

When I reached the line a young lady that was standing in front of me turns around and gives me a warm and friendly smile; Surprised, I return the friendly gesture.

To my great shock this same young lady turns around to her friend and speaks out loud in PORTUGUESE…

“Look at that white woman behind me. That’s why their kids are full of rotten teeth; she should be embarrassed to be walking around with all of those sweets. She doesn’t take care of her children and then she complains…” With that she turns back to me and gives me another one of her nice and friendly smiles.

I didn’t waste any time, I smiled back at her and said nicely… “I’m sure it never crossed your mind that I also speak Portuguese, which is why you should be more careful when making your comments in the future and just to clarify, I don’t have children and these sweets are gifts that we will give to some ladies that we have just visited in the hospital.”

The young lady yelled in disbelief and said …. “Oh how embarrassing!” She got out of the line and left.

Her friend that remained on the line said… “Look, it was very good that this happened because I’m always telling her not to do things like that but she always does it. It was good, who knows, maybe this way she’ll change…”

When I look back I even laugh about it but in reality this served as a lesson for me too…

Especially when it comes to our eyes…

Not everything we see is what it looks like. Jumping to conclusions is very dangerous and it can lead us to make horrible mistakes and even hold grudges in our hearts.


  1. wow...i can only imagine how she felt..!this really does show that we should not jump to conclusions.i would have thought that smile was just a happy and friendly smile not thinking of anything else.

  2. So true. Some people judge the book by its cover, instead of reading it first. Beijos.

  3. my goodness its really a bad thing conclutions and assuptions is one thing not for sure and never to rely on.Thanks Mrs Nanda

  4. WoW!!! I cannot believe..but I guess it's so true because people tend to put up masks all the time & they are the ones to judge the quickest & look what happens.
    We should really be careful.
    Thank you Mrs.Fernanda

  5. That must have been embarassing for that girl. I will be more careful before making assumptions.

  6. Very true! I’ve been on both sides of this before. When I lived in the Caribbean people knew I was British even before I opened my mouth and they are famous for talking negatively about you in their language. To their horror, my mum had taught my sisters and I. The shock on their faces – especially when they were trying to con us – was priceless. Sometimes I do make assumptions about things and when they turn out to be completely different to what I was thinking I am ashamed. This is definitely something I have to watch out for.

  7. Oh Mrs Fernanda I laughed when I was reading this but it’s a lesson for me too because I used to do that with my friend. I remember the other we were doing the UK December Christmas Carols and I said something to my friend in our language about a girl that was passing. And the girl said to us in our language “I CAN HEAR YOU”. I felt like digging a hole and hide myself. And the girl was very to us in the end, she even donated some money and it was a lesson for me. What I said to my friend was actually wrong and it’s very bad to jump into conclusion. Even if we are in foreign country it doesn’t mean we say whatever we wish..

    Betty Gapare
    Croydon UK

  8. This is just one more thing that women do so well – jumping to conclusions and making assumptions. You rarely hear men making this mistake. I did laugh when I read this article, but I couldn't ignore the seriousness of it also. It's something that I also had to learn because you really do never know what is behind a person's actions or in their heart for that matter! This serves as great message for me and one I'll never forget.

  9. A similar experience happened to me when I visited my family in Mexico and an American girl spoke about me and my family without realizing that I had grown up in the US and that I knew English:)
    At times we may be so quick to judge and jump to conclusions and vice versa based only on the little bit that we see. To stop and think of the damage we could be doing and the sin we would be committing is necessary.
    Mrs.Nanda Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

  10. I was so amazed when I read that you let the lady know that you understand, and even impressed. For it was required, in addition I hope that the lady learns from this situation. But this opportunity for her to learn may not have happened if you didn’t respond the way you did. The lesson of being careful of what we say is important but for me the biggest lesson I received is that I can not always allow certain things to happen to me or around me and turn a blind eye to it, on the outside when in fact it can be bothering me a lot inside. I still struggle knowing the boundaries of what I can say and what I cannot. I want to learn. I want to be bold but also considerate and above all, living according to God’s words. I don’t want to be a weak Christian.

    United Kingdom

  11. This is something that is so common, especially in women. We need to always try to see things with good eyes, but it is extremely easy for us to look at something at face value and draw our own conclusions. Although things may make complete sense according to our eyes, indeed it is true that things are not always as they seem. By CHOOSING not to jump to conclusions or look at situations with bad eyes, we can save ourselves much embarassment and humiliation!

  12. Never judge a book by its cover; nor jump to an preconceived ideas ... We must learn to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and look at them/the situation with clean eyes ... Thus avoiding awkward circumstances.

    Ethnanda Manley (UK)

  13. This has showed me that it's impolite to talk or make quick judgements about people and what they are doing. WE shouldn't say anything at all :)

  14. Interesting experience...Often times we judge people around us and we don't even realize that they might understand what we are saying. We have to be very careful with our tongue because it is a very powerful weapon it can be used for good or bad.


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