Tuesday, November 6

You Won't Miss it until you Need it

We had a great opportunity this past week; we were able to host a couple of people from the States who are working for an organization called Cure International. They do great work; they locate places around the world that aren't able to provide adequate healthcare and build hospitals in those places that specifically target children with disabilities. For example, here in the West Bank, children with disabilities often aren't able to receive treatment for conditions that are easily curable like club foot or cleft palette, even though adequate healthcare is available in Israel (the children aren't able to cross into Israel).

While Dale, the man from Cure, was here, we were able to help connect him with the type of people that would benefit from a Cure hospital here in the West Bank. We connected him with the local YMCA, which works with children with disabilities. While speaking with the YMCA director, Dale shared an impactful story. "Cure currently has a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. While there, one of Cure's surgeons was able to perform a procedure to fix the son of a tribal leader who had cleft palette. The boy was four years old. The procedure took 45 minutes and went well, and when the son came out of the operating room with his corrected palette, the tribal leader walked over to the surgeon, hugged him, and began crying. He told the surgeon that until now he had never accepted his son, and that at that moment the surgeon had given him his son back." Dale went on, "These are things that are easy to fix if they are caught at birth, and after Cure builds this hospital here in Bethlehem, club foot and cleft palette will cease to exist in the West Bank." Needless to say, we were happy to help him get whatever he needed as he looked to connect with people here who would benefit from Cure's hospital.

Another problem here in the West Bank is lack of adequate health care in general. We took Dale to interview one woman who lost a son at birth. She was 7 months pregnant with twins one night when Israeli troops entered Bethlehem. As they were conducting operations she heard a gunshot, started running, and tripped and fell. The resulting trauma induced labor, and her twin sons being premature, one of them was not able to survive on his own. She left one at home and began going from hospital to hospital, trying to find an available incubator. At one hospital in Bethlehem she was turned away because they only had one incubator and it was already in use. She tried to take him to Jerusalem but he died before she was able to cross the security checkpoint. This is the son that survived. While Dale was interviewing them this boy told Dale, "I hate the Jews. My brother is dead because of them.His mother turned and told him that he shouldn't hate anyone.

Obviously, sometimes things here are very complicated. This boy is too young to figure out hate on his own. Who's teaching him to hate Jews? Who's telling him the story in a way that makes him feel that way? At the same time, sometimes things here can be pretty simple: if there had been adequate healthcare, this story wouldn't have had such a tragic ending. That's why Jess and I were glad to help Dale while he was here; so that the chance of families like this one experiencing similar things becomes less likely...

A hospital in Bethlehem won't make the checkpoint go away; it won't give the Palestinians Israeli citizenship or their own viable state; it won't force the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to sit down and negotiate a peace agreement; and it won't solve the economic problems that plague the West Bank. It will help more than a few people though, and bring direct relief to the physical and resulting emotional suffering that some families in this part of the world experience. We're glad to be able to help Cure move forward with this project. Check out some of the other things they're doing around the world.

(Both photo credits in this post go to the photographer that was here with Cure, Bryce Alan Flurie.)

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