Wednesday, 11 July 2012

What's all this about a camel?

Images by artist Sarah Jane Mason
The use of this Sufi story is aimed at building understanding about prevention and self-care in the Pakistani origin community. The South Asian origin communities have a significantly higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Our research showed that people do not always understand the idea of prevention. They feel that what happens to them is 'Allah's will' or just a bi-product of growing old.

Community members have a great respect for professionals and they are not always persuaded that  they have an important part to play in self-care. 

The use of this story with community groups and Expert Diabetes groups, makes a direct link with people's deeply held faith. I have written in an earlier blog about the importance of understanding the communities that we serve. 

This story (pasted below in English and Urdu) is proving a light hearted way to get messages across and spark great discussions. 

Each discussion pack has the colour version of the story with text and a black and white copy for each participant, a copy of the story in Urdu and a set of our 5 Key Messages leaflet. 

A Teacher was travelling with one of his disciples. They had had a long day journeying across the hot desert. The disciple, a young man, was in charge of taking care of the camel.

They came in the night, tired, to an Oasis. The Teacher said to the disciple
‘I am very tired, I am going to bed. Before you go to bed, just make sure that you tie up the camel.

The disciple thought to himself: ‘I am very tired as well. I can’t be bothered to tie up the camel. I know, I will ask Allah to look after the camel. So he prayed, “Allah, take care of the camel,” and the young man fell asleep.

In the morning the camel was gone. The Master asked the young man, “What happened to the camel? Where is the camel?”

And the disciple said, “I don’t know. Don’t blame me. You ask Allah. I asked Allah to take care of the camel. I asked him very clearly! There was no miss- ing the point. Not only once in fact, I asked Him three times. And you go on teaching ‘Trust Allah’, so I trusted. Now don’t look at me like that.”

The Teacher gave a big sigh. He said: “Allah has no other hands than yours. Tying up the camel would not have stopped it from being stolen, but it would have stopped it from wandering off .Yes trust in Allah but tie up your camel first!”

For Discussion
1. What do you think this story is saying to us?
2. In what ways can we ‘tie up our camel’ by looking after our bodies and our health? 

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