You all remember Al-Wafa hospital ..the main rehabilitation hospital in Gaza that Israel leveled to the ground last summer despite pleas from its doctors and the international medical NGOs that were there at the time. I always wondered what happened to its disabled and elderly patients that had to be evacuated minutes before the Israeli war machine started bombing the hospital. Today I got the answer. I went to see the new location of Al-Wafa hospital.
They moved to a building used as residence for the elderly. The hospital personnel found themselves in a place that didn’t even have beds for their patients who needed constant care. They didn’t have food to offer them specially those who could only be fed through a tube that goes to their stomachs. The place was certainly not equipped to be a hospital! They had to act .. and act very fast to keep their patients alive. Despite all the devastations that they were going through, the Gazans started coming to the building with clothes, blankets, mattresses and food. The hospital personnel worked around the clock to keep the patients as comfortable as possible.. some didn’t see their families for days to be able to do that.
After the aggression ended, the doctors and administrators contacted every NGO they knew. They managed to get new rehabilitation equipment so their 18 physiotherapist and 8 occupational therapists started working again. With minimal resources, they turned their new place to what they hope to be a temporarily hospital. Rebuilding AL-Wafa hospital is on the top of the list for the next round of funding they were told…
I would like to introduce Ahmad, he is a 10-year old boy who lost his father, a brother and 2 cousins when the Israelis bombed his home. He sustained a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He can only move his facial muscles. He greeted me with a beautiful smile and showed me the apparatus that engineering students designed for him to operate the remote control using his jaw muscles! He told me he can also work on a laptop the same way and asked me for one so he can go back to school. How can anyone say no to Ahmad!
Haja Um Mahmoud, 86 years old, lost all her family when the Israelis bombed their home. She was found in the rebel unable to walk because of fractured hip. She recited some of her poetry to me, thanked me for coming to see her and asked me to stay….
My dear friends, Al-Wafa hospital and the Right to Live Society need our help. I promised them on your behalf that they will get it. Stay tuned for an update on the dialysis machines that you all bought for Al-Ranteesi pediatric hospital; I have great news!
Tomorrow I leave Gaza to the West Bank for 5 days of clinics and lectures in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron and Jerusalem.. Gaza will remain in my heart and mind; to me it is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Regards from Falasteen