They are laughing and thanking to make their need disappear

by Heide Weishaar,  2013/08/23

Someone who talks about his birthday in Germany mostly tells us about a relaxed day celebrated among the family with coffee and cakes. For Heide Weishaar, humedica assisting coordinator in Lebanon, this day proceeded in a completely different, yet similar way. This 36-year old woman is giving urgently needed help in Syrian refugee camps there, together with voluntary doctors.

“At my birthday, I wake up and have a look at Leen, my Belgian colleague and roommate, whom I’m sharing a room with in Zahlé, a medium-sized town in the east of Lebanon.

She is still lying in bed, which is rather unusual, because she normally gets up at least one hour earlier than I do. I greet Leen with my best version of the Belgian Goedemorgen, take my toothbrush and disappear in the bathroom.

After a quick wash I am trying to put on make-up in front of the only mirror in the apartment. After that, I join all the other flat mates on the balcony where we are having breakfast. We are all still a bit sleepy. Only doctor Wiebke and our main coordinator Susanne are already busy with the medical records of the refugee camps which we are going to visit today.

At 8:45 our four local colleagues arrive – we pack the car and leave. The first refugee camp is not far away. Like most of the 38 camps we are responsible for, it is close to our place of residence Zahlé.

As soon as we arrive, we are being greeted by bunches of children. Quickly, we take two tables and some chairs and build up our pharmacy and surgery in the camp manager’s tent. We can start our work.

Already the first patients arrive. They are mothers with their children who are suffering from diarrhea or skin diseases; people with war injuries, dorsal pains, hypertension or diabetes. Sometimes, we are also faced with unusual diseases, typical for this country like leishmaniosis.

Many afflictions are due to the catastrophic life conditions in the refugee camps. Mostly, the water sources are contaminated; the housings are makeshift tents; the food supply and hygiene are completely insufficient.

Instead of wondering why the people get ill, I am wondering more and more how so many refugees manage to stay healthy and resilient. And I am even more surprised to see them smile and making jokes.

My job is to help with the organization of the waitlist and the referrals but very soon afterwards, I can also use my physiotherapeutic knowledge: one patient is suffering from heavy backache and I am massaging her as well as I can, according to the circumstances.

After that, I am treating a girl suffering from Spina Bifida, a malformation of the neural tube, which is generated by a lack in folic acid during pregnancy and which can, in some cases, result in a physical disability for the child.”

The second part of this report will tell you, how Heide Weishaar was able to help this girl and which other incidents happened during this very special birthday. Please support our help measures for Syrian refugees in Lebanon with a concrete donation. Thank you very much!

      humedica e. V.
      Reference “Syrian Refugees”
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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