“The hollow eyes are shining brightly”

by Judith Kühl,  2010/08/23

Two queues of women and men. Children are queuing together with mummy or daddy. Crowded people, loud conversations between those waiting, the crying of a sick baby; no breath of wind. The sun is burning down and temperatures amount to about 40 degrees Celsius.

Our help reaches the people: for example Zava… Photo: humedica/Judith Kühl

For two days, our doctors have been treating about 400 patients in stuffy rooms. Curious children are running around in the yard in front of the building which houses our mobile hospital. A third queue is forming in front of our pharmacy. Our nursing staff is distributing the drugs prescribed by our doctors at no charge.

A woman taps on my shoulder. I turn round and, startled, I look into they eyes of an older woman. Startled, because I had seen the woman without really seeing her. She is wearing a burka.

Up to this moment she has been looking at her environment through a veil and has been clad in a long garment which covers her from her head to her ankles. Now I can see her eyes. She has lifted the burka. Right up to this moment she had seemed foreign, unrecognisable due to the burka.

Now I know her name. Zava is smiling broadly. Two of her median front teeth are missing. But nevertheless it is a beautiful smile. Her hollow eyes are shining brightly. In her hand she is holding the drugs she has been given by us.

She is in pain, but at the moment Zava is happy. She gives me her hand, shakes the tablets in her other hand, and repeats the same words over and over in Pashtu. I cannot understand the words she uses, and neither can she understand mine. But I understand her gratitude for the help she has received without needing any words.

A short time later, a girl approaches me and asks for my name. When I ask her for her own name in turn, we are joined by her three siblings and the mother of the children. Also the mother, Farzana, is holding drugs in her hand.

… or Ayesha and hundreds of other children. Photo: humedica/Judith Kühl

Their house is full of mud. She has been cleaning the rooms and furniture for days and at the same time she cares for her six children.

She shows me her hands which are showing obvious traces of the hard work she has done over the past few days. Her health is not very robust. The youngest son who is clinging to her hand is looking up at her fearfully, as if he was worried for his mummy with his only four years of age. Her two daughters Ayesha (11) and Aiman (10) are grinning at me.

If their mum is well, so are they. Suddenly, Ayesha extracts some coins from under her veil. She wants to give them to me, so that I can buy myself something to drink in the heat of the day. Deeply touched I give Ayesha a short hug. I tell her that I am fine and that I do not need anything.

I tell her to keep the money. A short time later, the family leaves for their home. We say goodbye to each other. 20 minutes later, Ayesha approaches me once more. She is bringing me an ice-cold bottle of coke under her veil.

I am amazed by the generosity of a family that has lost almost everything during the flood. And then Aiman comes running towards me. She puts a package of biscuits into my hand, grins at me and then disappears quickly down the road towards her home. Now I am left speechless.

Dear donors, over the last few days I have been asked frequently by journalists whether your help actually reaches the flood victims. I am experiencing it day by day: yes, your donation reaches them! People receive the help they need so urgently. And they express their gratitude in all ways that comes to their hearts and minds.

From Pakistan I would like to send you kind greetings from our team, which is offering relief to the flood victims with a lot of effort and motivation day by day. We would like to thank you for making our work possible.

Dear friends of humedica: Judith Kühl has already said what we would like to communicate to you: yes, your donations reach the flood victims. And those people in misery still need our support. Please continue supporting our important work in Pakistan by means of a targeted donation.

You can send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and contribute a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into our project work. Please also donate for the flood victims in Pakistan via our online form, or choose the traditional way of supporting us by transferring your donation to the account below:
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Flood relief Pakistan"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Thank you very much!

Judith Kühl has been supporting the work of our team in the disaster area for two weeks. Photo: humedica/Simon Gelzenleuchter

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