This was written by Rita’s niece, Jumana, who went with the mission and worked as translator and helper. She has also been helping with our distributions from the warehouse and other projects in Jordan for SCM.
SCM – March Medical Mission 2015
Using whatever you can do to help a person in need gives you a very good feeling. Talking to a kid and seeing everything through his eyes makes you realize that you should be thankful for the life that you have, the home that you live in, the food that you are eating, the family that you have. Seeing the pain through a woman’s eye because her husband has been bombed and now she is left all alone with her children and having to find a way to feed them. Seeing an old man being carried on the back of his 40-year-old son because he has a problem in his legs and he can’t see. This all brought tears to my eyes and made me feel really sorry about all that is happening to this world. It also gave me strength because I knew that I had to do something, even though I am not a doctor, but through this week I had been able to do humanitarian, and also translate with the non-Arab speaking doctors. It might sound like it is nothing, but every little simple act of kindness matters to them and helps them. I was also motivated by the courage of those doctors who crossed half of the world to volunteer and help those in need. They came knowingly the danger they are putting themselves through, knowing that they know nothing about this culture and the people, yet they decided to do it with passion and love. Getting the chance to see a doctor seeing around 150 – 170 patients a day is just amazing. It reminds you that there is still hope, love, and possibility.
Going to Zaatari Camp was probably the most touching and sad experience of all. Whatever the media shows, or stories that you hear, it won’t exactly show the bitter life that these refugees are going through. Refugees outside the camp get whatever help they can have. They are also still in need, but they find a way to live, to work, to study, and to learn, but the ones inside the camp don’t. They can’t leave the camp unless they have permission or a guardian who knows those people well. And for some reason, the government and the ones in charge of Zaatari can’t be blamed, they have to keep everything under control. They can’t wait for any medical or humanitarian team to come to get the help they need. So, if I was in any of their shoes, I’d feel prisoned. But through all of this, they managed to get their lives together. Inside the camp, you can find whatever shop you want. Groceries, markets, electric shops, barbers, wadding hall, clothes shops, restaurants, etc … .
Inside Zaatari, lots of patients touched my heart. I’ve translated with the psychiatry doctors team, and got to see old man having fear of death wherever he goes, little girl imagining demons the whole time, and another little girl having a dream about a bad witch who lived near her grandparents’s house in Syria and did bad things to them. It broke my heart hearing people living with this almost everyday. Working with the dermatologists team, I got the chance to see lots of different types of diseases, but mostly was dryness in skin because of the rough environment they are in, all dry wind and desert. The dermatologists managed to help a lot with a total of around 700 patients in two days. The medications, moisturizers, and Vaseline they had helped a lot.
On the first day in Zaatari, I had a bottle of water in my hand, also after getting hungry I had a bar of protein with the other hand. A seven-year old kid comes to me and asks to share my protein bar, she says: “miss, can you split it in half between me and you?” I smile and split it, within two seconds another little boy comes and asks to split it between the three of us. At that moment, I forgot how hungry I was, and how low the sugar was in my blood. I split it in half and gave it to both of them, they thanked me and smiled and went on their way. When we finished checking all the patients, we started sticking stickers on kids’s foreheads. Out of nowhere comes a little silent girl unlike all the excited kids, she says nothing and just shows me her hand. It was obvious that she was mentally disabled. Her hand was badly burnt. I found her younger sister who was in charge of her and took her to the dermatologists who were packing their stuff. Her name was “Taqwa”, I held her hand and stayed with her until the doctors were done with her, it was obvious that she was scared and feeling lost, but she managed to get along and feel a little secure with me, I felt really attached to her. On that day I heard about an eighteen-month girl who got burnt and her father as well. We managed to know that the burns were caused because of a candle that dropped on the carpets in their caravan, because they had no electricity for about two weeks.
On the second day in Zaatari, the first thing we did was visiting this family, giving the daughter and her father who were second degree burnt the proper medication and treatment, gave them some goods and lanterns that are solar instead of the candles that are considered really dangerous. The lanterns and other goods were handed to other families in need as well. I also got the chance to meet “Taqwa” again which made me feel really happy and made me want to jump out of the van to hug her. When she and her sister met me, they hugged me, it really made me feel happy. Also hearing all the patients thanking each one of us and asking God to return us the good that we did to them made me feel proud of all this that we did and do.
Doing medical missions or whatever little thing a person can do helps makes this world a better place, and gives the ones in need hope that people care for them, people they don’t know care for them, and if I could, I would do this over and over again.
– Jumana Sawalha