Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Organized Chaos

Well I don't know if they are actually organized, but our Gaza patient days are certainly chaotic! Shevet serves two main groups, Kurdish children and Gaza children. The Kurdish kids get to stay at the house in Jerusalem with us when they are not in the hospital for surgery and are waiting for initial or follow up echoes. The Gaza patients, however, due to the politics of this region, have to go straight from the border to the hospital and back every time they need to go to the hospital.

Tuesday is our biggest Gaza day. There are kids coming across the border periodically throughout the week, but Tuesday is when we pick up a large number for echoes. Today we picked up 9 kids, each with one guardian, usually the mother or grandmother. In addition to our families, another organization called Save a Child's Heart that we partner with has children at the hospital as well. Due to all this, it is an absolute party in the echo cardiogram wing on Tuesdays! Anything and everything can be expected. Here are a few highlights from today:
1) Clowns dancing up and down the halls distracting frightened children
2) Knocking over dominoes, coloring pictures, and blowing bubbles to keep the older kids occupied while they wait for their turn
3) Cleaning up puke from the babies who can't hold down the medicine (The littlest ones get scared by the echo, so it is easier to give them sleeping medicine to knock them out for the whole procedure)
4) Yusef and Lina (our two Arabic speaking staff members from Israel) heatedly debating the Qur'an, Isa (Jesus), and the Bible with one of the fathers that had come with his daughter
5) Checking on our Kurdish kids who are there
6) Teaching Sarina rock, paper, scissors

Gaza days are always very long but very rewarding. We get a lot done and have a great time hanging out with the kids. I've found adults often struggle with the language barrier and feel uncomfortable. But kids can handle it. Smiles, laughter, facial expressions, and pantomime go a long way!

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