Augusta Victoria

Our next stop was at Augusta Victoria, a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital was built at the turn of the 19th century as a palace for the wife of Prussian Kaiser Wilhelm. It is a beautiful facility, built of white stone and marble, with high ceilings, a courtyard, and engraved columns. The facilities are not dissimilar from the Palestinian Medical Complex, except with more specialized machines (ie dialysis) and Hematology/Oncology sub-specialists.

Augusta Victoria is a smaller hospital that has built a reputation for great cancer care. They rely on nearby Makassed for blood banking, MRI, intensive care, and other subspecialties. For advanced pathology and immunohistochemical tests, they send out to Hadassah. We split off onto different floors for the day to follow the resident teams. Mike and I ended up catching a lecture on thyroid cancer from a retired American doctor doing a 3 month volunteer rotation in the hospital. It seems there is no escape from lectures in medical school, even on the other side of the globe.

That afternoon we made our way back to the Old City. We visited the Church of the Redeemer first. We had made a new Palestinian friend in the checkpoint line at Kalandia that morning, and Ashraf turned out to be a youth minister at the Church. So we had someone to give us a quick tour and history lesson. The Church of the Redeemer is a relatively new structure, at least compared with the ancient Holy Sepulcher and Western Wall. It is the Protestant Christian addition to the mix, and is controlled by the Evangelical Lutherans.

We climbed the 178 spiral stairs to the bell tower where Josh got some excellent pictures of the Old City. While up there, I looked down on the rooftops to see water-tanks and laundry lines. Not 25 yards from the Holy Sepulcher, one of the holiest places in Christendom, some residents of Jerusalem are drying their laundry. This reminded me again of the day-to-day life going on just behind the massive domes and mosaic murals.

And then we saw the Israeli police chasing young thief (we think). Its more frightening when they carry automatic rifles.

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