A Car With a German License Plate in Israeli Rush-Hour

by Michaela Baumann, 2008/03/28

When one thinks of Israel, so many images come to mind. One, however, which no one expected, is that of an auto with a German license plate moving itself through the Israeli rush-hour traffic. This is the car from Esko Nykänen, a Finn, who has been living in Israel for 22 years and for the last five years has been working there for humedica.

Known throughout Jerusalm: Esko's car with the German license plate. Photo: Esko Nykänen

When one telephones with Esko Nykänen, the problems between Israel and Palastine begin to become clearer. Suddenly one knows someone who must endure endless security checkpoints and searches. And someone who can only enter the Gaza-Strip after he’s been thoroughly checked - and at the moment without his auto. Esko has been familiar with the situation in Jerusalem for many years. It is these experiences which make his work for humedica so meaningful.

Despite all of the problems, Esko is committed to making sure that the relief goods coming into Israel from humedica get to the cities where they are truly needed. Humedica regularly sends a large container to Israel containing medicine, sanitary items and sometimes replacement parts for the health projects located in the autonomous Palestinian area. There, Esko and 34 year-old Abed Abu work to distribute the supplies.

Esko during a supply distribution in the streets in Nablus. Photo: humedica

Since the beginning of March, humedica has brought a new form of help to Israel: so-called “Doctor Days”. On these days Esko, several doctors and a container full of medicine drive to different villages, mostly in the West Bank, in order to treat patients. For many of these patients, this is their only opportunity to be seen by a doctor.

The first Doctor Day was relatively demanding: three physicians treated 256 patients in the village of Tulkarem. The second day was even more so, with 354 patients from Qalqilia/West Bank being seen to by six doctors. Ten doctors have already signed-up to help for the next Doctor Days in April, but at the same time, list of villages and regions asking humedica for assistance also continues to grow.

During the second Doctor Day in Qalqliia, over 300 patients were treated. Photo: Esko Nykänen

A Doctor Day is also being planned for the people living in the Gaza-Strip. This region is especially plagued by poverty. Before the Gaza-Strip was closed off many people went to work in Israel. But today everything has changed: the borders into Israel are closed, and there are long waiting lines at the security checkpoints. It is these poor working families who urgently need help and medical care.

Please help us continue our support and relief work in Israel with a donation to humedica. Thank you.

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