Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ahlam, musawa, gishaf - "dreams, equality, freedom of movement"

this will probably be my last post, as i return home tomorrow. i tried to post some photos but ended up having to load them onto flickr if you want (and know how to) look at them - username is palhealth.

i leave with a heavy heart, jokingly in my mind i thought for a moment heavy enough to weigh the plane down, sitting surrounded by laughing - even cheering israelis. israeli security definitely questioned me a couple of times but i found it easy to play clueless, and they didn't seem to be too wary of me. but they were really concerned that i might have met and actually befriended anyone on the other side of their apartheid wall. making sure no one gave me anything, etc. i played along...

my last couple of days were spent finishing the training in alrowwad giving a couple of treatments and traveling back to harduf to see harry and channah one last time.

i met a beautiful woman named samira who came to the first training but had tremendous back pain and couldn't stay for the other one. i arranged to give her a treatment later. it seemed people had been excited from the first training and a few of them were really good and i hope they can try to start treatments when they comfortable enough. i had become friends with marwa who is the women's unit coordinator and she was excited to continuing practicing so that she could start treating women in a group setting. we talked of many things and after spending the time i have with the women there i have so much respect. they all feel overburdened and they seem to keep their households together while also working always feeling like they have so much to do with children, home, etc. so strong.

i had one of my most profound experiences that last day in aida camp. i had only given a handful of treatments while on my visit and realized so much from them. after using only one needle on my friend i realized body acupuncture is too moving sometimes for people who are constantly bombarded with trauma in daily life. it made me have so much more appreciation for the simplicity and effectiveness of the auricular treatments. i did a simple treatment mainly just using acupressure. her body trembled and shook as she tried to keep back the emotions and tears streamed. her young daughter came in and out throughout the treatment, looking at her mother and smiling at me. when she saw her mother crying she took her hands and kissed her forehead while i continued the treatment. it was a really beautiful moment.

after the treatment she felt like she couldn't get up, i think it's because she finally had a moment to rest. she told me she doesn't like to cry in front of others especially her children because she wants to be strong for them, and with what is happening in gaza she had been holding so much in. she remembered the exact moment when she began shutting things out and not being able to express herself. she was 17 and she had heard that a settler in hebron had shot 2 villagers. she broke down in the middle of the street wailing with her sister trying to tell her to get a hndle on herself. she said she really hadn't been able to express her feelings openly since then. she asked if i had been here before because she said from the first moment she saw me something was so familiar - my face, laugh and my smile. i cry now with how much that touched me. as i left we joked about how it was nice meeting 'again' she looked so different afterwards. i asked her to be easy on herself and rest for as long as she could. she often suffers from insomnia, stress and back pain. as i left she called in to her daughter who brought me out a beautiful scarf so i wouldn't forget her - as if i could, she taught me so much about living.

i was overwhelmed by sadness at the thought that we are all sensitive beings and being forced to live in such oppressive, unhealthy situations as caused by occupation they are not allowed to feel the same way as those of us who have the luxury to. they have to shut themselves off from the pain that surrounds them daily, to continue on living and provide the best care they can for their beloved children so that maybe they will have a better life. but slowly as we shut out pain we start to shut out other feelings as well, especially when the pain in overwhelming, as it is for most living in their country, a country they love, palestine. she had told me of having a few instances where she just 'shut down'. she could hear everything but couldn't move or respond. her husband worried and took her to the doctor for a brain scan but they found nothing, because the cause is not physically perceptible. it comes from a caging of the spirit. just being there a couple of weeks and making many frends and having intimate conversations with them about this has brought such an awareness of the true inhumanty that is occuring. and they all hope for the same - a future that will let their children live freely and in equality with those who 'share' their homeland, not being treated as 'second class' citizens. a term i am disgusted even exists. please try to remember the individuals whenever confronted with the question of whether war is ever justified. haven't we learned that violence against any harms us all, even if we aren't aware of the direct effects of it. and we will never be free unless all are.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Erin - long time...i got an email with your blog a while back. i book marked your blog thinking i had your email address but i don't. very cool what you are doing. i am currently treating a patient for pain from a major car accident that he was in - deaths occurred. i thought of you. he has major PTSD along with his pain and i wanted to know if you have any suggestions for PTSD treatments that you have experienced good success with in your training? i hope all is really well with you. here's my email address just in case.
    take care! denise hirschberg