Good news from Al Aqaba! In January, I attended an engineering conference in Doha Qatar concerning Gaza reconstruction. That made it possible for me to visit our projects in Palestine and Israel; my first stop was the West Bank village of Al Aqaba.
I had last seen Haj Sami Sadeq, the mayor of Al Aqaba, in 2008 when he joined our speaking tour that spanned the United States. The mayor is paraplegic, so I did all of the driving. He returned the favor this time by picking me up in Ramallah in his specially modified car that allows him to accelerate, brake and steer using only his hands (see photos).
It was wonderful to see him again and to spend two days in Al Aqaba, strolling the brand-new streets of the village, meeting villagers and Haj Sami’s extended family and discussing challenges as well as future building projects. We visited our kindergarten, now 3 stories high, with 130 students in attendance, the Ibn Rush’d Library upstairs and 1.5 floors housing the Rural Women’s Cooperative’s sewing machines, giving moms jobs. We visited the 3 new apartments being constructed for visiting English teachers; and new classrooms to double the size of Al Aqaba’s elementary school. We talked about the demolition orders (still in force) and the status of the village’s master plan and the hope that its approval will assure the village its right to issue building permits on the land to which it holds clear title.
It was a great pleasure to visit the little 2-room clinic in Al Aqaba that with your help, will expand into a Birthing Center with ultrasound, heart monitors, and an incubator. When our Birthing Center project reaches its fundraising goal, we’ll install refurbished medical equipment and provide training along with an ambulance with portable incubator. This ambulance will not only be the first mobile neonatal care unit in Area C of the West Bank, it may be the first ambulance in all of Area C.
How will this delivery be possible? The Rotary Club of Nazareth, Israel, in partnership with my Rotary Club of Woodside / Portola Valley California will draw upon their Rotary connections to assure the delivery of the medical equipment and ambulance. I look forward to telling you more about this in future updates!
Thank you again for your wonderful support!
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