Friday, March 13, 2009
Oman 2- Abraham
This event in Oman was probably one of the most life changing to me. There are some particular details one needs to understand about the culture to grasp some details about the story
1. In Oman culture, light colored skin was a desirable quality. much like skinniness or tallness is viewed as beauty (although distorted) in our culture. There were different shades of light skin with the lightest, olive colored, skin belonging to the native Omanians and the darker skin color belonging to those of more African descent
2. Oman was a foreigner friendly country and yet there were/are root arab/islamic traditions that are seemingly unbreakable
3. Houses are clumped together and referred to as compounds. The walls surrounding the houses are usually waist high and there are no guards of any sort. The garbage dumpster is located outside the compound across a dirt road (this is a key detail in the story)
4. We lived in a compound made up with various other families. 1st family was British and they ran the British council, 2nd family was scottish and he was a pilot who worked at the British base called ( thumb/ rait), 3rd family was from Palenstine who we frequnetly referred to as the family from Jordan (the country) cause we couldn't pronouce their last name. 4th family was us from America :)
5. The sultan (king of Oman) 'allowed' westerners, people from india, philipians, asian to have a compound where they atteneded church and where all the pastors lived. There were 2 church buildings where the various denominations held their services at different times (think of the gas and time people saved on church hopping!) The pastor of our small non-denominational church was named Ken and his wife Margaret. They were from Britan and with the best last name ever for a Brit ...Crummick sounds like crumb. Ken's love for people of every culture impacted my life greatly and has gave me a healthy view of Christ's love for everyone despite cultural differences. I contribute much of who I am today as a Christ follower to him and his wife's love for our family.....
One day our palenstian neighbors knocked on our door and we opened it to see them holding a baby, a brand new baby maybe a few hours old, in their arms. They quickly explained that they had found the baby on the ground right in front of our garbage container. They quickly handed the baby over to my older sister and left to their house. We were beyond shocked. The immensity/sadness of the whole situation was overwhelming. I vividly remember my mom crying and I was trying to grasp the enormity of why someone had left their baby by the garbage!!!...... We called the police. It was obvious that it wasn't our baby as the baby was definently Arab descent (explaining why our palestinian neighbors where so quick to hand off the baby)
The police took the baby to the hospital. We quickly called our pastor Ken as alot of the Philippian nurses at the hospital went to our church and thus Ken could find out what happened to the baby.....
Ken found out that the baby was o.k. and healthy and that the baby had apparently been delivered at that same local hospital as they could tell by the device on the umbilical cord. In that culture so much is not talked about or addressed even hidious and sad crimes. Babies out of wedlock are one of the many issues ignored and swept aside. As Ken talked to the nurses more they showed him that there was a room with several babies that had been abdoned and that there was another room with toddlers/preschoolers who had grown up in the hospital. Ken clearly heard God speak to him and tell him that this baby that we had found was like Abraham in that he would be the first of many babies that our church/community could change their lives just by holding/hugging/playing/talking to. And those babies were so hungry for love and affection and thrived on what we could give them.
So we all named the baby Abraham....
I couldn't even imagine how Abraham's mother felt and that the only option (she felt) for her was to throw her baby away??? That's despair....
Ken had his own speculations about what happened. First Abraham's skin showed that one of his parents was definently Arab. One could only speculate what type of situation Abraham had been conceived into. 2nd, our compound was the only compound where Westerners lived in that section of town. He thought Abraham was purposely left where the mother knew foreigners lived. 3rd, the baby was set in front of the dumbster...hmmm 4th He thought the mom actually went to see her son at the hospital as he grew up there....
When it was discovered that there were babies and children at the hospital our church formed groups where and Ken and a group of mothers plus me and my sibling would visit these babies weekly. Bring toys and just take them out of the cribs to give them affection. Love was never so simple.
I remember hearing Omani women comment on how beautiful Abraham was because of his light skin and then they would point or gesture to a darker baby and show distaste. So not surprisingly Abraham was eventually adopted by a loving Arab family. We had considered adopting Abraham as a family but when we further began to investigate our option, there wasn't any. Abraham was obviously Arab and the goverment wouldn't allow a Western family to adopt/rasie an Arab in a Christian home.
In the pictures above, my mom is holding Abrham and my sister is holding another one of the babies from the hospital. Where the person is standing to take the picture of our compound is where Abraham was found. The older couple is Ken and his wife Margaret.
Posted by Erica at 8:22 AM