Road trips halfway around the world. Supporting volunteers, NGOs and foundations in far off places through video production. My goal is to produce marketing videos for fundraising. In recent years I’ve crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times and been in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.
My eyes and cameras have witnessed and recorded interesting, cool scenes.
Patrick with John and Eldon in the Judean wilderness
Relationships and friendships born from these voyages are satisfying rewards. I thank God for the many opportunities. I like sharing with fellow citizens of the world. The hospitality and warmth I receive in return is a blessing. I feel ecstatic.
In a foreign land I am vulnerable. I don’t know the local language. I must rely on others for food, and transportation. Humility goes a long way in these parts. It’s OK…I can do this. I love this.
Friends are essential for survival. Making new acquaintances in the field is a joy to me. What starts as a walk ends as a dance. Let the music play on and on.
Our typical visit with Syrians involved a single family, 4-8 men, women or children. Doctors examined injuries, illness, reviewed medications and gave advice. Translators were involved and most important. But there’s always a shared human moment when no words are necessary…a blessing for all.
One day we visited three men including two brothers in Mafraq in northern Jordan. One man told us he had just been released from two years in prison where he was tortured. He was remarkably well, managed to smile a couple of times. Our doctor examined his bruises and skin rashes.
At the end of our visits, we asked to hear stories of their exodus which they freely gave. Then we would pray together. Jesus was with us. It was powerful. It was appreciated. It was awesome.
Salaam alaykum….Peace be with you.
Five days of visits to Syrian families seeking refuge in Jordan introduced me to many children. Some were ill requiring examination from the three doctors on our team. Their siblings, cousins and grandparents crowded into the apartment to see if the Americans could improve the health of one of their own.
The ailments ranged from winter viruses making the rounds in throats and sinuses, to vision problems, to diabetes. One 11-year-old boy lost hearing in his left ear from the artillery shelling by the Syrian army. Nerve damage, he was told, cannot be undone, but it wouldn’t get worse. The Davis doctor who told him that had lost hearing in her right ear 20 years ago.
There is a stigma here that an injured or sick child is damaged goods. Refugee families qualify to get medical care from the Jordanian government. For the most part, and the patient, it works. Receiving house calls from American medical professionals this week was a unique event.
All children suffer from the effects of the war in their country. Running for their lives into a refugee camp or a foreign city with all they could carry is not ideal. Innocence is lost when leaving your home, friends and routines because a desperate regime turns on its own people.
The light in their eyes is not extinguished, however. Childhood has its resiliency despite the emotional walls that may be erected. Not all refugee situations are the same. Some are able to get children into schools in Jordan. Others do not. Continuation of education leads to the possibility of a future, hopefully in Syria.