News from a summer volunteer in Bethlehem (Katherine Leigh)
As part of my nursing training I was offered the chance to do an elective placement anywhere in the world, as long as I organised it myself. Quite a challenge, especially as, being a student, budget had to be taken into account.
My vicar, the Reverend David Perkins, takes pilgrimages to the Holy Land with McCabe and suggested BASR (The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation) and what a brilliant suggestion it was! The McCabe Educational Trust assisted with my airfare and I arrived in Bethlehem on the 13th May.
I instantly felt welcome at the hospital, but I also felt a sense of sadness. The political situation in the Holy Land seems to be beyond hope. But what amazing people the Palestinians are. They live in such a sad situation but still manage to maintain their dignity and incredibly friendly nature.
I spent eight weeks in BASR assisting in four different units: rehabilitation, surgical, children and the operation room. I was very impressed with the hospital. The staff members are all highly trained and skilled, and the equipment is up to date. The care given by the nurses was very professional. I was highly impressed by the hospital’s attitude towards the disabled. Fifteen percent of their staff are disabled. The hospital saw their potential and ran vocational training programmes to realise this.
I also spent a week on camp with the Al Shurooq School for the blind. This is another McCabe sponsored organisation working to help people with little opportunity due to the political and economic situation. The work done by the principal, Helen Shehade, despite being blind, was completely inspirational.
In terms of my nursing training, I feel I have gained valuable experience from seeing a hospital in a completely different setting to the United Kingdom. But the whole experience has made me look at life in a whole different way. I have met some remarkable people who work towards the greater good no matter what situation they are in. I have received overwhelming support from the Christian community, and I am so grateful.
So thank you to McCabe for all their support. As well as generous financial support I had the chance to join various Pilgrimage groups on their visits to the Holy Places. I was also able to get any advice and support from the staff whenever needed.
This is an example of the work of the McCabe Educational Trust. Together we aim to leave a footprint on the paths we travel.
We are grateful to all the supporters of McCabe who helped us distribute £130,000 to very worthwhile ventures in the last year.
A special Thank You to McCabe pilgrims who helped us raise £7,841 during July – a total of £101,710 so far this year!
With your help, we will continue helping those in need we encounter on our travels