(Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility has traveled to Gaza since 1993. Since 2009, following the Cast Lead invasion by Israel, WPSR has sponsored 12 medical delegations to serve the people of Gaza.)
Today, our last whole day in Gaza, was full of people we love and people who came to our hotel for consultation in their care.
The leader of the cochlear implant center came to the hotel to tell us of the progress being made to help hearing-impaired children in Gaza. Gaza has a growing group of children with hearing difficulties, and this young woman has dedicated her life to getting assistance for these children.
Just over one year ago, our beloved nurse friend, Naima, named her baby Gurri (they call her Gerri). Today, we traveled to Gurri’s home to visit and hear of life in their neighborhood.
Gurri has one older sister and two older brothers – all bright and beautiful children. It was delightful to watch them eagerly open and study the books we brought to them. Again and again, we hear of growing concerns about the possibility that doors will close to Muslims wanting to visit the US when Mr. Trump becomes president.
This afternoon, Bob and I met with a series of patients who were seeking consultation – children with complex medical problems and adults whose care will need to be addressed outside Gaza.
One little girl, who has a partially repaired cleft lip and palate, shone with love as her father spoke to her and told us about her. He related that she is the top of her school class. After seeing us today, they were going to the beauty shop where a new hairdo was planned.
The lack of medical coverage for the extensive care she needs is a problem. We will consult with practitioners in the US regarding possible next steps for this beautiful child.
Tomorrow, after Meghan Fitzgerald (PhD student traveling with us) gives a lecture, we will say farewell to Gaza– a time too short – taking with us so many stories and hopes for freedom.
Please see the UNRWA report: http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/gaza-2020-liveable-place