Saturday we were off to Jericho, the oldest city on earth. It is a low, hot place. We walked to the ruins of Old Jericho and took a lift to the Mount of Temptation. A Greek Orthodox monastery is built over the cave where Jesus is said to have fasted 40 days and nights before temptation by Lucifer in Christian mythology. Of course, we had to stop on the way to let Mike pet the goats and ducks. He hasn’t met an animal yet that he hasn’t tried to befriend. Dr. Dolittle in training.

We made it back to Ramallah for an afternoon meeting with Dr. Khammash, the director of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), who will help us with our visits to aid camps outside Ramallah. Rounding out the evening was dinner with Harb’s Uncle Ghassan, the dean of the Beirzet Law School in Ramallah. Dr. Tony happened to be in the same restaurant and stopped by to chat.

This was a short blog, so I’m going to comment on something a bit random: A Culture and Medicine observation. The facilities here are very good medically, but lack some of the amenities you’d expect in a US referral hospital. There are 4 patients to a room, with one shared bathroom, and one plastic chair at each bedside. There are certainly no TVs or refrigerators or computers available. And each morning during rounds, one female family member (usually mother) sat patiently at bedside. The order and speed of rounding was amazing with this arrangement. The same cannot be said for American hospitals.

This is not necessarily an indictment of the American system. However, I remember many instances of patients and families complaining about their resort-like American hospital rooms, with individual bathrooms and cable TV, ala carte menus, gas cards, rooming vouchers, and entertainment services. The sense of entitlement in American culture makes my guilt reflex act up fiercely. It is a shameful reminder of all the insignificant annoyances that cause me to whine petulantly.

Well, that is enough of James on his soapbox for today. This content is too heavy for a relaxed evening with a beer at an open air internet café. At any rate, Josh and I have to focus on convincing the “freelance journalist” evesdropping from the next table that we really are CIA operatives.

One Response to “Jericho”
  1. Ruth Kipp says:

    It is wonderful to see 4 young gentlemen learning about medicine and other cultures in such a remarkable fashion. I am so excited for all of you! Enjoy and learn!!
    Ruth, long time family friend of James’ family

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