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Volunteering at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza

November 1, 2013

By Simon Chambers

Allison Kittleson is a registered nurse who wrote to us at PWRDF in April offering her services “wherever she is needed most.”  Allison, a parishioner at St. Augustine Anglican Church in Lethbridge, Alberta, began travel nursing while still in University and spent time in The Gambia, West Africa, where she taught Sexual and Reproductive health classes. In 2009 she spent three months in a rural hospital in Kenya working alongside local staff and living with a local family. Over the past 7 years she has worked in South America, three countries in Africa, and in Haiti. She feels particularly called to offer her gifts in disaster relief. She has worked in Lethbridge as both a medical and a surgical nurse in order to fund her volunteering efforts.

After some conversation with Carolyn Vanderlip, PWRDF’s Connections Program Development Coordinator, it was decided that she would spend a month working at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza.  Allison has recently arrived at the hospital, and has begun sending updates back about her time there.  We will compile highlights from her messages and share them on the PWRDF website.  Here are some highlights from her first impressions:

I have been overwhelmingly welcomed by all the staff, including the gateman and gardener! And I have made two wonderful friends, being slightly younger than my travel companions I decided to go poke around the first [day] instead of resting. I met Anwar, a nursing supervisor who showed me through the wards and introduced me to the patients (who also welcomed me). Then I stayed and chatted with the ladies; they taught me a few Arabic phrases, hilarious. And are determined to better their English and my Arabic in the month.

I cannot even tell you how much food has been thrust upon me. I was given a giant bag of apples and bananas to add to the stash in the fridge waiting for me. Then bread and cheese and pastry for lunch. I had a wonderful sea bass for supper and no sooner headed up to my rooms than met a man with trays for us! We sent him away and I think he quite enjoyed eating our supper 🙂

In addition to helping to arrange Allison’s time volunteering at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, PWRDF is facilitating a grant from the Diocese of Ottawa to the hospital as part of their GIFT campaign.  The Diocese of Jerusalem, within whose boundaries the hospital is located, is the companion diocese of Ottawa.

Edit: updated Allison’s last name from Wiig to Kittleson at her request.

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