Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Story of a Dishwasher

This is the translation of a story from a Norwegian blogger, Bjørn Olavs Blog.
The original can be read here.


"Something different happened when I decided to sell our dishwasher on finn.no (the local selling website).

 

My wife and I have arrived at that age of carrying out home improvements - whether you want to or not. I don’t want to, but I have to, mostly because my wife wants to. So, we’ve built a new kitchen with the consequence that a fine, four year old dishwasher is no longer applicable. You need to have built-in dishwasher, you realise.

I went to work, put an ad. on Finn.no, and thought that it should be possible to get 1500 kroner (£150/$250) for a dishwasher which after all had cost 5000. Besides, I'm half Sunnmøring. You do not waste money.

Then came a text message: Can I have your dishwasher for 1000 kroner? Regards Wizam.

We’ll see, said the Sunnmøre half of me. But since no one else showed any interest in the ad, I thought, let's get it out of the house.

Yes, you can have it for 1,000 kroner, if you pick it up tonight, I texted.

Sure, they'd come after eight o'clock, Sunday evening.

The time was half past eight. They arrived. Wizam and Mohammad weren’t very accustomed to the snowy roads in Norway, so I had to go out and drive their car up the last stretch to the house, an old Mazda with worn tyres, and definitely no room for a dishwasher. Even here I was about to get a little testy.

They looked long and hard at the dishwasher.

Then came the question, could they have it for 500? My inner Sunnmøring was already up in arms. I was about to drag them over to the computer and the ads on Finn to show them what similar dishwashers went for, when I finally came to my senses.

- Where are you from?

- Palestine.

- Gaza or the West Bank?

- Gaza City.

- Fatah or Hamas? I asked in an attempt to place them politically.

- Nothing. We are not politically active.

- Refugees?

They nodded in unison.

Then I got a bit of history, like you've seen on television - bombed houses, blood, death and misery. The youngest, Hazim was born two days into the war in Gaza and the West Bank in 2008. It took three weeks before Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a cease-fire. Three weeks without medical care, without proper sanitation, no hospitals. Hazim couldn’t be bathed properly until one month after his birth. And if we, for a moment, put politics aside, and not accord blame, then we can agree that these are people who were innocents.

Now, say no to selling a dishwasher for 500 kroner.

So, I drove up our car, stuffed in the dishwasher and drove it home to them in Åssida.

And there the story might have stopped, with me wearing a halo that lit up the winter night. But it does not end there. Fortunately.

For, when the dishwasher was carried into their small apartment, then came the invitation.

You must come and dine with us on Saturday. Bring the whole family.

It was impossible to say no. Neither did I want to.

The following Saturday, Anne and I met five incredibly well-behaved children, Mohammad and Wizam had in addition invited friends who were just as nice as themselves. There were freshly made falafel, fresh, homemade pitta bread, salad, tea, Lebanese coffee. It was tight in their well-used couch, but it was exceptionally nice.

And when we finally departed, it was not me who had lost 1,000 kroner in a second hand sale.

I had been repaid with interest, in the form of friendship, two huge bags of spice mixtures from Gaza, a new falafel-iron and a bunch of fresh pita bread, nicely packed, ready for the freezer.

Besides, I’ve promised to join in next time Wizam bakes.



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