FOOD!

We had another very nice day at the hospital and fast-paced nights the past two evenings. Tuesday night, we were invited to a bar by one of Harb’s old friends. She seems to be a very successful engineer working on the “planned” city of Rawabi (linked in the “sites” portion of the blog), where she is in charge of the streets. Her situation is interesting and unique because the U.S. is funding some of the street construction, and she, therefore, is working for a U.S.-based company. Also, as part of her job, she is allowed to go to Jerusalem without applying each time for a permit. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and controls entry and exit. Still, a majority of the East Jerusalem population is originally Palestinians. Travel into Jerusalem is prohibited for Palestinians without a permit from the Israeli government giving permission. Harb is

still waiting for his application to hopefully be approved in order to come with the other three of us to the Augusta Victoria Hospital in a couple weeks. I find that it’s impossible to have a conversation with any resident of Ramallah without effects of the conflict coming up. Even when they don’t purposefully bring it up; it’s just part of everyday life. It has even stifled the ice cream intake of Ramallah people! I was devastated to discover that Move n’ Pick (an upscale hotel and famous Swiss creamery) has been denied the permit to import their delectable ice cream, which is the rock on which their business is built, by the Israeli government.

Even without the ice cream, the food is awesome! Another of Harb’s friends, Sayed, invited us to the Skybar for excellent Mediterranean tapas and a magnificent sunset view of the city. I’ll try to link to some of Josh’s photos when we get that set up, so be sure to check them out. After this, he walked us to his house for drinks and more appetizers. Then an evening walking tour below the downtown. This Arabic hospitality is insatiable!

As for our alibi for being here- medicine- the patients were incredible today. For all you medical geeks out there, we saw TWO patients with situs inversus, visceral Leishmaniasis, some kind of Biotin deficiency, and a child with alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase deficiency. On the other end of the spectrum, I got to spend the afternoon in the pediatric ER! This is my dream job, so even though it was a lot of cough and fever, I loved seeing how things run. While understaffed and underequipped, on the whole, it was quite efficacious. Labs and X-rays came back as fast- if not faster- than in the states, and consults to specialty services were quite efficient. I just returned from a rotation in Peru, and was somewhat depressed to witness the lack of evidence-based medicine there. Here though (so far), protocols are in place, physicians are well trained in the most modern techniques, and what is known to work is what is used. Refreshingly though, all this has not led to treatment decisions being made from unconnected executives, nor has it led to prohibitive (and really annoying) amounts of paperwork. Good doctors are allowed to practice good medicine. U.S. physicians can appreciate this, I’m sure.

Well, I’m off to try to buy some meat for dinner. I can’t count my money (Shekels), I don’t know where the store is, and I can’t say beef. I do a great chicken dance though- No Problem.

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