A special friendship was started the day an international worker in Central Asia attended the wedding of one of her students.
As she sat on the floor with other women during the meal, she chatted about everyday topics and shared the happy news that she was pregnant with her first child. The woman sitting next to her was also expecting her first child. Because the worker was new to the country, she asked the woman about doctors and where to get healthcare in the city. The woman was happy to share, and the two became friends.
The friend’s family accepted the worker into their circle because she is careful to dress modestly and respect their customs when she is out in public. The two women “do life together,” sharing the ups and downs of motherhood and marriage. They often chat while their children, a boy and a girl, play together.
The worker recently had the chance to support her friend in a deeper way. The woman’s second child was born prematurely and died just four hours after birth. The worker immediately went over to her friend’s house, and they cried together. The friend’s family wasn’t sure how to react to this show of emotion; in this part of the world, crying openly is not acceptable. But when it was explained why she was crying, that her heart was broken just as much as it would be if it had been her own child, the family realized that the worker cared deeply for her friend and was a comforting presence.
It has been a long and difficult mourning process for the friend, as it would be for any mother. But the worker sees a chance for love to grow. Her friend’s husband has come to rely on her as a trusted friend for his wife. Sometimes he will call the worker on the nights when his wife is really struggling and ask if they can come for a visit. This has also opened the door for a deeper relationship between the men of the family. And the bond of friendship between the two women is even stronger than before. Out of this tragedy, hope has been found.
-Written by Lisa H. Renninger
-Photo provided by worker