Sunday, November 14, 2004

Muhammad the nurse

I took my son Friday night to the medical clinic in our neighborhood that is open when all the other clinics are closed. We sat for 2 hours while everyone suffering from all kinds of ailments piled in, kids in pajamas, tired looking fathers and mothers. My son had cut his foot badly while playing soccer in sandals and kicking the floor. There was only one doctor on call. I thought there were two doctors on staff, but the person whom I thought was a doctor was a male nurse, a Palestinian called Muhammad. I was so curious and so happy to see him here, in a place full of Jews, Jews who are considered settlers by many (except for the Jews who live here - we consider ourselves Jerusalem suburbanites). No one in that room, and it was crowded, gave it a second thought. He wore his name tag - Muhammad something or other. No one gave him a hard time. Everyone treated him with the utmost respect and he did his job very professionally. He bandaged up my son's foot carefully after cleaning it with a solution my son wasn't too happy about because it burned slightly, and gave me instructions on how to do it myself (although when I did try it, I couldn't manage to do it as neatly as he did it - in fact I did quite a slop job). I wanted to ask him all sorts of questions - how do you feel about working in what is considered a settlement, how did you get this job, where do you live, what does your family think, etc. I didn't ask diddley of him. But I overheard someone else who did. He lives in Jerusalem and is also a nurse at one of our major hospitals. Little things like this never get media coverage - do they?

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