The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
“Foua never thought to ask, since she speaks no English, and when she delivered Lia, no one present spoke Hmong.” (pg 6)
I cannot imagine being somewhere where no one spoke the same language – let along receiving medical care and/or delivering a baby without anyone speaking the same language. That must have been not only a scary experience, but a lonely one too. To have no one there and no one there that spoke my language – I would have been terrified! I also cannot imagine not having an interpreter available. I was not aware that this was, or even could be, an issue in America (naïve of me). Foua first experience giving birth “Western” style must have been terrifying – completely different than what she was accustomed to, unable to communicate, and receive/follow directions. How difficult and frustrating for Foua and her family and for the medical staff. With the apprehension of the Hmong of Western medicine, it is no wonder that lack of communication and direction can precipitate this belief.
“The history of the Hmong’s yields several lessons that anyone who deals with them might do well to remember. Among the obvious ……do not like to take orders, that they do not like to lose, that they would rather fight, flight, flee, or die than surrender; that they are not intimidated by being outnumbered, that they are rarely persuaded by other customs of other customs ….., and they are capable of getting very angry.” (pg 17)
This should be common knowledge for most people. Common courtesy – who in their right mind likes to be ordered around? There is a right and wrong way in approaching and dealing with people. Nice and not so nice – unfortunately for the Hmong, it sounds as if most people were either annoyed, arrogant, or too busy to listen to and learn about the Hmong culture. It is essential to remember the fundamentals of humanity. Listen; be courteous,... [continues]
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