Sophia's Peace Work

Monday, March 22, 2004

We were supposed to go on a monitoring trip with the Iraqi Radiation Center (part of the Ministry of Environment) today to the villages near the Tuwaitha Nuclear Facility that was looted after the war but got the run around. They say, "Yes, no problem, you and come with us." Then we show up and it's, "Oh sorry, no trip today."

Yeesh ... so I spent the day getting the run around at Al Kindi hospital working on Ahmed's case (a young man in one of the squatter camps that has lost the ability to walk ... we're trying to get him medical attention). I was getting more and more upset ... as we went from on chaotic office to another. Then we went to the mother's house ... turns out Ahmed was taken to Yarmouk hospital because he was having trouble urinating. The mother's story is of course different from the hospital's story ... so I was getting even more upset. I really felt out of my depth ... everyone is talking in Arabic and I get a word here and there but not the meaning.

Ack, what is going on? I have no idea! Alaa only translates a subset of what is said and sometimes I don't get the complete meaning. At one point, in the hospital, she had me convinced we were in a ward for crazy people and then I come to find it was the Neurology department ... atleast I think it was ... I'm still not sure. In the mother's house I started crying because I just didn't know what to do or what was really going on.

Alaa assures me that, at the hospitals, my very presense gets her in the door. I remember a peace worker telling me about an Iraqi man who made up a poster as a joke with pictures of her and other western peace workers on it and the title "Rent a Whitey!" If that is the only way I can be of value to these people, then so be it but it is COMPLETELY FUCKED!


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