For years my parents have had one T.V. in the house. Me and my siblings would always fight over the remote control and what shows we were going to watch. Few were the moments when we all agreed on something and most of the times we would end up watching either a chick flick or a horrifying movie. In both cases no one was happy,if it was the girls turn to choose the show,the boys would make it impossible for us to watch because of their constant nagging and we would do the same to them just to make sure we were even. No one was happy except Makdis.
Makdis has been part of our family for the past two years, she cleans and does the dishes but most importantly she never complains about what T.V. show we are going to watch, what ever is on Makdis will watch and she always seems to enjoy it.
I really never paid attention to Makdis or what Makdis wanted to watch and for some reason I always assumed that she understood what we were watching whether in English or Arabic. I forgot that she was from Ethipoia, that she barely spoke Arabic or English and that this was the first time she had seen a T.V.
In an attempt to solve all the family disputes my parents decided to buy an additional T.V. set, of course we were all thrilled but no one was more excited than Makdis. The presence of a new T.V. empowered Makdis, now she could watch what she wants,when she wants and was not confined by our personal choices, instead she had the ability to hold the remote and control and choose her favorite shows.
Over the weeks I observed Makdis, in the morning she would watch a morning show with her nescafe and in the afternoon after all the housework was complete she would tune in for her favorite Turkish soap opera. Her life had been transformed!
The assumptions we make about people determine the way we treat them. I assumed that Makdis didn’t care about what we were watching but in fact she did, we assume that physically disabled people might be less intelligent so we speak loudly and slowly when in reality they are as smart as we are if not more.
Makdis’s story taught me a very important lesson, the basic needs of any human being such as laughter, the need for entertainment and having our own space are universal to all human beings whether they are from Lebanon or Ethiopia. The idea might seem cliche but in practice I realized that I was not really applying it.
Today Makdis enjoys a variety of TV shows and my siblings and I still fight over the remote.