My Canadian friend Tracy Glenn is a nurse from Vancouver who lives in Doha, Qatar. In this article on JustHere, she discusses what led her to fasting during Ramadan, even though she is not Muslim herself:
Each Ramadan I feel grateful that I am one of the fortunate that has enough but then again I feel grateful most of the time. My non-Muslim friends and colleagues sometimes ask me why I do it. Sometimes they ask me with a ‘why-in-the-world-would-you-do-it’ look on their face. It has opened many interesting and involved discussions.
I find her decision to fast on Ramadan beautiful and awe-inspiring. This is exactly what I mean when I write about the concept of cultural humility at the heart of Slow Travel: it’s a willingness to set aside your preconceived ideas, and explore a foreign concept from the inside. And just like Tracy explains, it can lead to a renewed gratitude and sense of belonging.
Helene and I met Tracy when we visited Doha in 2010. She helped shape my first impression and understanding of Gulf culture, and stands in my mind as a model of cultural humility and curiosity.