My neighbor Rafic from across the kitchen courtyard knocked on my back door, his arms filled with liter-and-a-half bottles of mineral water. “Rivka called. The water is contaminated, probably from sewage. She says not to use boiled water either; only bottled water for cleaning fruit and vegetables, tooth brushing, and drinking, even coffee. If it lasts more than a couple of days I’ll bring you more bottles.” Our friend Rivka is an infectious disease specialist and she has the inside scoop on this sort of thing before the media gets hold of it. Rafic is a good guy and acts more like a brother than a neighbor in so many ways.

IMG_1389Being a very imperfect person, my first reaction was to think of the inconvenience. But really, how much will I be inconvenienced? Bottled water was brought to my door. If I want more I only have to ask for it. This is a temporary situation that won’t last more than a couple of days.

I sponsor a little girl in Ethiopia through Save the Children. Tejitu lives in Dendi, an overwhelmingly rural area. The photo I received when I first started sponsoring her a couple of years ago shows a slim twelve year old with large, almond-shaped eyes. The information I received is that she attends school (Save the Children is running a literacy boost program there) and that her daily activity is fetching water.

Of course I’ve always known that many, many people in the world have to carry water for all their needs, but seeing Tejitu’s photo and reading “fetching water” casually listed as a daily activity of this small-framed child really touched me. It got to me in a way that reading articles in the socially aware media never did.

Today I resented having to use bottled water for a couple of days. I’m awfully spoiled.

It’s a “bad cancer day” and I’m not very strong at the moment. I have to use the walker to get around inside the house. Rafic noticed it when he brought me all that bottled water. I saw him glance at it and he looked sad. “No,” I said, and I was just a little surprised that I meant it. “I’m lucky to have this walker, and to have a home to use it in, and a neighbor who’s more like a brother to bring me water.” We both smiled, and Rafic went back across the courtyard to his house.

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26 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    Wonderful to have those special people in your life…

  2. Lisa says:

    I’m glad he is there for you. God blesses us through people like him.

  3. maria ratliff says:


    We have sponsored children the past 10 years. Ethiopia, India, China, Kenya. I relate about the feelings we have as we read their bios & look at their pictures. We are so very blessed aren’t we? Those with just about nothing at all, especially these prescious children, really touch our hearts. And I am blessed even further by trying to help in some small way!

    You take care of yourself my friend!! Praying the water clears up quickly!!


    • Knot Telling says:

      Thanks, Maria. I’ve also found that sponsoring children gives me at least as much as it gives them.

  4. oh, KT,

    I was so touched, just as you were, about Rafic appearing at your door to bring you that water. and how lovely for you both that he feels more like a brother than a neighbor.

    I do the same thing – if I am grumpy or not feeling great, I grouse a bit in my head – but i am getting better at correcting myself, and thinking out side of the boundaries of my sometimes teeny, little world. it’s good that you were able to think of sweet Tejitu, then re-frame the water situation. it’s not the mistakes we make at first blush that matter so much as the way we are willing to help our minds and hearts evolve to see a bigger picture. thanks for sharing and reminding us about the gift of gratitude.

    I hope tomorrow will not be such a bad cancer day, and that you will feel better.

    much love,

    Karen xoxo

    • Knot Telling says:

      Thank you so much, Karen. We are all works in progress, but I get so impatient with myself!

  5. Maxine D says:

    Oh how easily we who have plenty complain – I too am guilty :-(. Thank you for your choices to rejoice in what you do have – you are a beautiful example.
    I praise God that you have neighbours like Rafic and Rivka who care for you in such practical ways – they are truly a blessing.
    Prayers and blessings

  6. What a lovely reminder to appreciate what we have. It makes me happy to know you have such a wonderful neighbor. And good for you for sponsoring Tejitu. You’re a blessing in her life for sure, as you are in many lives, including mine. Hoping for many good cancer days ahead. That sound weird, but you know what I mean…

    • Knot Telling says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Nancy, and I am so happy that you get what I mean! Thank you for your kind words and continuous support of us metsers!

  7. Beth Gainer says:


    Such a powerful post reminding us to be grateful for the little things we have because they are actually big things. I’m sorry you’ve been having a bad time of it. Sending hugs.

  8. I think it’s important to be thankful for the things we do have. Too often we focus on what we don’t have, especially when we struggle with illness. I’ve learned this through my experience with lupus. I believe in a God that provides, and I never want to be ungrateful to Him.

    • Knot Telling says:

      Welcome to Telling Knots, TPD! I was very happy to have found your blog. I think there is a great deal of similarity between living with a disease like lupus and living with metastatic breast cancer, and I’m glad we’ve made this connection.

      I also believe in a loving, giving, gracious God, and I have no idea how I’d ever survive if I didn’t.

  9. I love how you turned a tough day into a better one with gratitude, the great equalizer. Best wishes and love to you. Lois

    • Knot Telling says:

      Thank you, Lois! I love that this happened, too! It kind of surprised me, but I guess it’s because I’ve worked for so long on making an “attitude of gratitude” a habit. Still working on it, but it’s getting easier.

  10. Vera says:

    Bless you for counting your blessings instead of your troubles. There is joy to be found in that. It was a very good reminder for me today. Thank you!

    • Knot Telling says:

      It’s a good reminder for me, too! Thank you for reading and commenting, Vera.

  11. Kurt Nemes says:

    Very gracious post.

  12. maesprose says:

    Kindness given and received…. loved the circularity of it all.

  13. Diane says:

    Rafic you ROCK!

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