Baraka Blog

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Tag Archives: PCRF

How can I compare?

I have only been interning at PCRF for one day, on that day I met Khalil and was asked to compare and contrast my life to his.

How can I compare my life to Khalil’s!? The only thing Khalil and I have in common are our ages. He is a rising senior and I am going to be in ninth grade this fall. I have lived in New York City for all my life, the biggest problems I face when I wake up include  finding a taxi to take me to school or realizing I haven’t studied enough for the history test I have third period. Sometimes I have the major issue of not having enough money on me to buy that super cute jacket at Bloomingdales.

Khalil’s life is completely different than mine. He has actually faced major problems and tragedies. Although Khalil and I speak different languages, we were able to communicate with gestures and basic English and Arabic words. Using his hands and limited English Khalil explained to me that Gaza, his home, wasn’t safe anymore, that his brother was killed, that his other brother had lost an eye and he lost both of his legs.

When he told me this I immediately felt guilty for ever crying over something silly, or complaining about something that I shouldn’t have been complaining about. Then I thought to myself, if I had gone through half of the things Khalil has gone through, I would not be able to wake up in the morning, I would never smile, never laugh, and would probably be horrible company. Khalil is the complete opposite. When I had lunch with him, he smiled, laughed and was amazing company.  How could I even try to compare my life to Khalil’s?

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Khalil’s Story – 3rd Update

8:30am, Khalil and I head to the dive center. On the way, I asked Khalil what he imagined he would grow up to do… “Nurse, I always wanted to help others, after my accident, I enrolled in a first aid and CPR course”.

There we were met by Ernst and Ali Bin Thaleth who generously offered to photograph Khalil’s dive. We got into our wetsuits, assembled our gear and headed to the pool.

Before his briefing, Khalil shared details of his accident with the group. He said, “That day, I decided to bathe. Because of the air-strikes, I had gone for nearly a month without bathing. I prayed at the mosque, and headed home, where my brothers and I sat in our living room.  Within minutes, we heard noises, an explosion on our street, people screaming. We ran to our grandmothers’ home. There, we were joined by a neighbor and her children. ”

“Thirteen of us huddled in a room; when the shell hit, my youngest brother was thrown out of his chair, and laid motionless in my mothers’ arms.  My other brother was running around the room, face covered with blood, screaming; the neighbor’s chair was struck from beneath, and folded onto her and minutes later, I felt nothing. I could hear them calling my name, I thought I was answering, but my breath withheld the sound.”

“I could hear them call my name.. but I was covered with rubble; the side wall had collapsed and landed on my legs. I vaguely remember being transported to the hospital in a car. I became conscious at dawn the next morning, looking across I saw the doctor praying. I asked about my brothers, the doctor told me to pray.”

Transitioning back to where we were physically after Khalil’s emotional account was more difficult for us than it was for him. He was ready to dive.

Khalil was in the pool until 12:30, completed Confined Dive 2 & 3.  He practiced swimming with the webbed gloves Mahmoud bought for him to support his movement in water.

To my surprise, Khalil performed the CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascend) with relative ease, an exercise many dive students had to repeat several times before perfecting it.

Thanks Lisa Katayama, Joichi Ito for documenting Khalil’s lesson. (All photos taken by Joi are licensed under the Creative Commons)

Thank you Rabea Ataya and Ruba Tabari for stopping by to check on Khalil’s progress and cheer him on.

Thank you Ali for taking amazing photos of Khalil, which we will share with the public in the near future.

Thank you Mahmoud for bringing the gloves, and a big thanks to Ernst, your patience and care for Khalil is an example for all of us.

Next step.. Khalil has to complete Chapters 4 & 5, and head to the Open Water… please stay tuned.

Khalil’s Story – 2nd Update

Khalil called last night to report that he had completed 3 out of the 5 chapters and was ready for the written tests. By 9am he was at the dive center, waiting for Jo to complete the tests.  Jo & Abood carried Khalil up to the classroom on the second floor of the Pavilion dive center. There Jo spent four hours showing Khalil PADI videos and translating the content and tests to Arabic. by 2pm, Khalil had completed and passed the tests.

At 4pm, Mahmoud & Jo spent took Khalil into the pool for Confined Water Pool Session #1.  Khalil had some difficulty performing the controlled ascend, which requires a diver to fin upwards to the surface.  With the help of a pair of Webbed gloves, Khalil used one hand to help him ascend.

Saturday, is Khalil’s next pool session. He will complete 2 in the morning, and if weather conditions permit, he would complete  Open Water Session #1.

Thanks to many of you who spread the word, we are receiving an outstanding amount of interest and support from the Media… please continue to share Khalil’s story with others.  His aim is to raise awareness on the growing cases of amputees in Gaza, Iraq and other places in the middle east, rally communities to support them with medical care and physical rehabilitation programs.

Please stay tuned for more..

I wonder if he knows …

Standing  in line to get a signature, the man behind the counter looks up, his expression: apathetic, his tone: sarcastic, he says: “what’s your rush? wait, the process takes time”.

I wonder if he knows, the value of this time I spend waiting in line, waiting for signatures, waiting for him to return my call, waiting for his CEO to get back in town, waiting for his CFO to approve funding;

I wonder if he knows a child who has just lost his mother under the rubble of their home is waiting for a doctor to save his life;

that doctor waits for the funding that needs the signature of the CFO who needs the approval of the CEO who has yet to read my proposal!

He says “wait a minute”. I wonder if he knows he holds the life of a child in the document he needs to sign. A minute has gone by.. I wonder if he knows 17 children die every minute.

help a child http://www.pcrf.net