The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down Essay

1293 WordsOct 4, 20176 Pages
Each and every culture is unique in it’s own way. From cultural practices, beliefs, values, biases, attire, to past history and experience, our world is shaped in many dissimilar ways. The book “The Spirit Catches You, & You Fall Down” highlights how diverse the Hmong people are compared to that of American people. In this paper, I will examine the impacts of multiculturalism within the Western health care system, particularly, how the care Lia and her family received after fleeing their home in Laos was incongruent with their traditional beliefs and values. How is this family ‘constituted’ in the world? What customs, practices, beliefs, and views of health are important to them? The Hmong believe in the use of the txiv neeb, which is a…show more content…
Following Lia’s birth, the Hmong family completed various traditional rituals, such as the hu plig, or blood sacrifice, to protect her from disease or death. Sacrificing a pig and two chickens took place in the Hmong’s home, as they believed that the sacrificial act would summon Lia’s ancestors to the celebration of her birth. The family cooked the animals “…and examined [them] to see if their skulls were translucent and their tongues curled upward; both signs that Lia’s new soul was pleased to take up residence in her body and that her name was a good one” (p. 11). Hence, Foua and Nao Kao believed that they had provided Lia with the best start to life possible. The day Lia became sick allowed for further reference to cultural beliefs about the health of their daughter to arise. The Hmong believed that when Lia’s sister, Yer, slammed the door, it caused her soul to become frightened and flee her body. They called this episode qaug dab peg, which in western terms translated as epilepsy. The Hmong believed that this was a result of being cursed by the dab. This discrepancy between Hmong beliefs and western understanding of traditional medicine became a significant obstacle in Lia’s health care experience. The Hmong saw doctors as disrespectful if they “… tried to maintain friendly eye contact
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