Monday, January 30, 2023 | Rajab 7, 1444 H
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Home is where the heart is

‘We tend to develop very strong emotional attachments to the places where we live and expect future stability in that particular place we call home’

A seventy-old woman was recently brought to my clinic by her son who was concerned about her memory. Although being of Omani origin, she has been living in Zanzibar all her life even after her grown-up sons moved to Oman.

Following the death of her husband more than 30 years ago, she started adopting village girls whom she treated as her own children. “They gave her company and compensated for the feeling of not having a daughter of her own,” her son explained. She would visit her sons in Oman once a year but would go back to her farm in the little village in Zanzibar which she considers her home.

More recently her memory was deteriorating and she would walk out of her house and forget the way back or give away her money to strangers. The girl she adopted was finding it hard to care for her. Her sons wanted her to settle here in Oman so they can look after her and she can get better medical care but she was adamant to go back to Zanzibar despite the pressure from her family. They wanted me to convince her to remain in Oman.

The conversation we had was not easy, while understanding the logic of the family wanting her to stay. I also considered her wish, though it may sound unreasonable.

This situation made me think of what and where we call home?

Driving through some of the remote villages in Oman, I often wonder why anyone would live in an isolated land between the mountains. What attracts them to be away with little facilities that we all, town people, take for granted?

How do they spend their time? Don’t they feel lonely? Some of the answers I get when I bring up this topic for discussion with my friends are “but that’s their home” and “they are used to that lifestyle”.

According to psychologists, people develop very strong emotional attachments to the places that they live at, which bring them a greater satisfaction with their home and expectations of future stability in that particular place.

These feelings also include attachments to other people such as friends, other family members and neighbours with whom they developed long lasting memories. Human beings often change their place of birth either for work or study or sometime due to natural or man-made disasters. Some find it easier to settle, call the new place home and form new social connections, yet for others there is always that sense of wanting to go back to their roots.

Their childhood memories are possibly because of nostalgia to the places they had their memories or because they are searching for a deeper understanding of how they think about themselves and their connection with the world around them.

I hope you find peace and tranquillity wherever you call home.

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