A day to remember

(Bericht von Nigi Aziz, Projektkoordinatorin der Humanity Care Stiftung in Pakistan, über ein medizinisches Camp der HCS in einer entlegenen Region in Nord-West Pakistan)
Azizabad

In this far flung village, there were not many exciting things happening. Therefore the announcement made from the loud speaker of the local mosque made everyone sit up and take notice. Before the call for prayer in the evening, any announcement that was meant for the whole village was usually made from the loud speaker. Generally they announced the death of someone.

But this was an unusual announcement. The man at the microphone said it once, and then he said it twice and even a third time.

A team of male and female doctors were arriving from Islamabad and would be holding a free medical camp in the house of Brig. General Kamal and Nighat Aziz, both residents of this area, and in the vocational training centre of Humanity Care Stiftung (HCS), bordering their garden.

They will be there from early morning till afternoon and will consist of male as well female doctors. They will check both men and women and also give out free medicines.

Medical facilities are the most difficult and most expensive for poor people. They depend on natural remedies and only serious patients are taken to the bigger cities for treatment. Doctors’ fee, travel expenses and medicines are difficult for many to afford.

Therefore, the arrival of doctors at their doorstep, with medicines, and that to free of cost, was a reason for excitement and joy.

This announcement was made in several close by villages as well as since the purpose was that most people should benefit from this opportunity. Mobile vans roamed in the streets, making announcements from their loud speakers.

Arrangements were also made to bring patients who were too poor or too sick, in a van, to the medical camp.

The morning dawned, and people were seen thronging to the Azizabad centre. vMen, women and children came in droves. Due to the pardah culture of this region, separate enclosures were prepared for men and women. (pardah = purdah; Abgeschlossensein der Frauen, strikte Trennung im gesamten täglichen Leben).

The team of doctors arrive well on time. They had driven several hours to reach and refreshments were ready for them. After having a cup of tea and some snacks they immediately got into action. The general practice doctors, the eye specialists, the gynecologists (all lady doctors), the dispensary were all in place within no time. Since the poor people of this area spoke a language different from that spoken by the doctors, the patients were provided translators for communication.

The little girl stood wide-eyed besides her mother. She must have been about six years old. Her eyes were sunken in her pale little face and the hand that clutched her mother’s veil was thin and bony. She had been woken at the crack of dawn by her mother so that they could reach well in time for the doctor's visit.

The daughter of a poor laborer with five more siblings in the house, mal-nourishment was not surprising. The mother was trying to explain to the doctor, through the translator, that the child lacked energy. She got tired soon and fell ill easily.

One look at the pale little face with big sad eyes, and the lady doctor knew the child needed good food and vitamins to help her growing body.

Behind her stood an old lady with a twisted arm which must have broken years ago, but which had never healed properly, resulting in the fact that she could not use it anymore. She only used her left arm to do her chores. The neighbours, poor themselves, generally shared their meal with her and that is how she survived.

Though very poor and crippled, she had a twinkle in her eyes and smile on her lips as she approached the doctor.

They gave her pain killers and other medicines that she needed.

However, the event itself, the people gathered in the courtyard and the doctors checking patients in different corners and within the training centre was enough entertainment for her to stick around and watch the proceedings well after she has had her turn.

So she sat in a corner, with a smile on her face, watching the hustle bustle before her eyes.

The men were segregated, as is the culture of this area. It is an unwritten law of the land.

That is why it was so surprising when an old man, who had just had his eye-sight checked and received a free pair of spectacles, came running to where the women were seated on the grass under the trees.

My wife! My wife! I have just seen my wife after years! Do you hear that?"

His excitement was contagious and everyone burst out laughing. No one was offended by this improper behavior. The women covered their faces with their veils and giggled; the men looked at each other and grinned.

Everyone was happy for him that he could see better once again.

His poor wife was quite surprised and embarrassed by all the attention her excited husband had drawn towards her. She smoothed down her hair with hands and fixed her veil properly on her head, as she felt several eyes on herself, wishing today she had worn the clothes she had kept in her box for weddings and special occasions instead of the old clothes she had put on in the morning.

The medical camp carried on well after the prescribed time as the place was full of patients from several villages.

They left happily with free medicines. Those who were more serious were referred to bigger hospitals in close by major cities. If they were too poor or too sick, they were provided monetary help to be taken for treatment to the main cities.

After a long and tiring day, the doctors relaxed in the flower laden lawns of the farmhouse. They ate a delicious meal of local specialities and talked about a day well spent with a sense of achievement.

Though just a drop in the ocean, the free medical camp brought relief and a ray of hope to many poor people of this area. It was an event they spoke about for many days.

A lot of them hoped it would become a regular feature so that they and their families could benefit from it.

Note:

The doctors are a team of volunteers who work in main cities and go to different villages as a gesture of philantrophy. They carry free medicines with them or get them provided by HCS.

The platform was provided for them by Humanity Care Stiftung and its team of volunteers. The transport for poor patients, the loudspeaker facility, the translators, the meals as well as the monetary help to serious patients to go to bigger hospitals, was shouldered by HCS.

The house where the medical camp took place belongs to Brig. General Aziz and his wife Nighat, who are both voluntary workers of HCS. They have dedicated a part of their ancestral land, located deep inside the rural area of Pakistan, for charitable activities of HCS.

Nighat Kamal Aziz

Project Coordinator Humanity Care Stiftung, Pakistan

10 October 2019


Die Humanity Care Stiftung unterstützt Menschen in Flüchtlingslagern und hilft denjenigen, die unter der Armutsgrenze leben, durch Bereitstellung von medizinischem Gerät und Medikamenten und ermöglicht so überhaupt erst deren Behandlung. Eine besondere Zielgruppe sind Kinder mit Verletzungen, körperlichen Gebrechen, Mangel-, Gehör- und Augenkrankheiten.

 

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