Here is a photo gallery of the pictures taken by volunteer and professional photographer Samia El Moslimany. She has shared many more pictures than I am able to fit here, but this will give you a good idea of what took place. They are in no particular order.
Although I’ve showered away any physical evidence of the first day of the SCM mission, I can’t seem to shake away the feelings I experienced. Our first location was Al-Wahdat, originally a Palestinian refugee camp in Amman. Both Palestinians dating back from the 1948 Nakba and recent Syrian refugees were prevalent. It was a long and overwhelming day, with the doctors treating roughly 700 patients and humanitarian aid distributed in a very limited tight space.
Towards the end of the day, we were all running pretty low on energy and supplies. Slowly the men, women and countless children began to trickle out. That’s when a young 12-year-old girl and her 10-year-old cousin came in. They heard we had “toys” and had walked down to see us. Although we weren’t taking any more patients and we completed the humanitarian distribution for the day, they decided to keep me company for an hour or two.
During this time, the two girls somehow managed to get their hands on a box of candy. They insisted on sharing it with me and placed the stickers found in the candy box on my phone and badge. They were giggly and charismatic; often cracking jokes at my and each other’s expense.
However, the 12 year old was repeated flinching while chewing her candy. She mentioned she’s had a bad tooth for quite a long time- in which she decided to try to carve out the cavity herself (thinking it would ease her pain). She showed me and it was severely swollen. I told her about the dental team onsite. She nodded her head yes, although admitted she was nervous. I got her in and she said she would see the dentist only if I remained with her the entire time.
While we were waiting, she held my hand and told me that her father was dead. His sister, the cousin’s mother, had also died. Before I could delve deeper they inquired about my parents, and what kind of food my mother cooked. We talked about our favorite meals, our siblings, and schooling. She ended up holding my hand the entire time, even while she was getting her tooth pulled.
This girl essentially faced her fears alone; with a little cousin she helped care after and a stranger holding her hand. I don’t think I’ve seen a braver child in my time to date, nor one with as much love as she had for the world around her. May every child have her strength and compassion.
Here are the numbers from the first day of the current medical mission. We will have more reports shortly.
Team split between 2 buildings:
1 team saw 520 patients, mostly Syrians, and a few Palestinians
The other team was dental and psych/mental health and saw 130 dental patients and 40 psych. Most patients in this group were Palestinian and a few Syrians.
Total patients seen first day: 690
Below are photos from our warehouse just outside Amman, Jordan. We had our local team there loading a truck with men’s, women’s, and kids coats, nearly 4 tons of clothes in bags, 6-7 boxes of diapers, 2 big boxes sheets and bed pads, 2 boxes of alcohol pads, 6 walkers, and 16 crutches.
These items were distributed with the help of another local organization that helps Jordanians in need as well as the refugees from Syria, Gaza, and Iraq.
See the article written by a Jordanian paper about the day. Click here. You may need to use Google translate to read it in English if it doesn’t come up automatically. There is another slideshow of photos taken by the reporter and the article says, roughly, the following:
“Ms. Rebecca Malekian, the head of the Initiative Together for the Good, received a large amount of clothing for men, women and children, and a number of sanitary items, medical supplies, and blankets from Mr. Basel Sawalha, the Regional Director for Salaam Cultural Museum, based in the United States, Seattle, Washington. The members of the initiative transferred the packages and tools to the headquarters of the initiative in the Ecumenical Center for the purpose of classification and packaging, in preparation for distribution to needy families of Jordan and Syrian refugees and the Palestinians of Gaza and Syria.“