Update on Humanitarian Assistance for Palestinians
February 6 2003
by Michal Zak
We are amazed how much work it is to take care of one little girl, and
really it does "take a village" (in Hillary Clinton's words) for this.
Malak was operated on and received skin transplants – she is now recovering
from this operation. The big and complicated operation was set for March 2.
The hospital can release her till then and we have been considering what may
be best for her. She needs a change of bandages once or twice a day, which
requires a clean place and warm water. Though her mother knows how to treat
her, their home lacks basic amenities and, in particular, hot running water
(they heat it on the stove). Despite this difficulty we have decided to take
her home since it is important for the family to be together again where
possible. We will have to make the drive to their home every few days with
clean towels, warmed and readied for her. One of our volunteer medical staff
will visit occasionally to monitor her recovery and make sure that she is
The alternative would have been to bring her here. Though we could provide
better conditions the drawback is that, just as in hospital, Malak and her
mother would be separated from the rest of the family.
In the meantime, we have been arranging for people from here to visit the
hospital every few days, especially on weekends, when the ward is almost
empty. The rest of the week they are kept busy and the presence of other Arab
families in the ward eases the language barrier. Malak is learning to
use a computer and meets an Arab tutor who visits the ward, so she is very
happy. Unlike other mothers who have to urge their children to eat, Malak’s
mother has no such difficulty - she has a very healthy appetite. That may
provide an indication of the situation at home.
We are planning a medical treatment day for this coming Saturday (delayed
from Jan. 25). We are still unsure whether this will take place in Beit Sira
village or in Media village.
A new offer
We received an offer from a hospital in the UK that is replacing its
equipment and would like, with our help, to donate the used equipment to a
Palestinian hospital. This may prove to be a formidable challenge, but is
great news, and we are looking into it. (It seems we are becoming more and
more relevant as a humanitarian project.)
From a personal point of view I must say it is becoming easier for me to
talk to Jews here in Israel about our work and to ask for help. Either I have
become stronger from this experience or people are becoming more receptive. I
guess the former is true, I hope the latter is also true.
We want to thank the many people who are supporting us, with money and with
kind words, all of you are inspiring us to continue.