PCDC News: May 2021
Usually in May Pcdc is almost always working in the Holy Land between Easter and the important Tawjihi exams, the equivalent of A-levels for students who will soon be leaving school. But again, this year we cannot. We are not allowed to travel there and going from house to house as we do is most unlikely to be helpful or safe: the virus is still strongly present in Palestine.
Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem at this time, for protection for the children and their familes, and for peace and justice in the Holy Land.
Some people have acquired vaccines by some means, but there is no rollout of vaccines as in England.
Normally, as Ramadan sometimes falls at the same time as our visit, we are able to share with our Muslim friends something of their cultural practices, and their hospitality.
Here at home, my wife Jennie asked me to help with food distribution to poor families (of whom there are many in West Newcastle). We called on a refugee family from Syria with a few bags of food from the Food Bank. When you are poor, how can you carry the food home on two buses? The mother came to greet us. I was glad I could speak a little Arabic with her as she had no English. She and her daughter were delightful to meet.
Before we left, she ran in to make us a gift of Knafeh and Qatayef, typical sweets they eat at the end of the day in Ramadan. We felt greatly honoured. They were delicious!
We have heard that the boy Ala’a has finally qualified as a doctor. He has been studying medicine in Russia and he came from a poor family with 12 children. And Elie, son of the pharmacist who is our partner in the centre of Bethlehem, qualified as a doctor in Germany. There are now 3 doctors who Pcdc sponsored when they were young. We have followed their progress for years, all the ups and downs, problems met and overcome. Now they are on the threshold of a lifelong career in medicine. Once we helped them for a few years. Now they can spend their whole lives helping others. Such is the legacy of Pcdc (and in Ala’a’s case, of PCDC and ACIC together).
Every boy or girl has some hope or aspiration for their future. On this we try to build. The great privilege for us is to share the hopes and fears, the obstacles and opportunities, to help the young person to see beyond the problem and to find a solution. I always say, where there is a problem, there MUST be a solution. Let’s sit down together and work a way forward. This is the work that I personally love doing best.
When the way seems blocked, let’s find a way to move forward. If we can’t find the way, then we’ll make a way. But there must be a way. Never give up! Never say “can’t”.
So we remember Mohamad who could not grow up. He needed very special help. The Jewish doctor who helped him turned out to be one of the world’s leading specialists in this field (Paediatric endocrinology). For seven years we took him into Israel for help, mostly legally (difficult during the Intifada). But for all the tensions we never missed an appointment, and now he is fully a mature young man!
Then Christina, who couldn’t pass exams. Desperately wanting to be a nurse, all she needed was time, patience and encouragement. We helped her through her self-doubt. She passed her exams and went to university. She became a wonderful nurse. (She dressed my face daily, last time I was in Bethlehem, just days after I had had surgery).
And her brother, whose teachers said he was going nowhere, took up photography. Pcdc supplied him with a good camera, gifted by a Newcastle camera shop, trained him at Galaxy College, Bethlehem, and now he is doing well, photographing lots of weddings and Baptisms. He has bought a shop for his parents so they too can now earn a living.
“The ministry of love and miracles,” Qusai called Pcdc this when he stayed many years ago. He stayed with Jennie and me while Newcastle’s wonderful Freeman Hospital made him a new leg for the one he had had amputated. Never give in! Never give up! Qusai is now training to be a surgeon.
Now we have a teenage girl at Talitha Kumi School who has aspirations to work at peace negotiations and conflict resolution between Israel and Palestine. She has been given an 80% scholarship at the brilliant new Eastern Mediterranean International School in Tel Aviv, which opened in 2014. She is a high performing aspirational teenager with a vision for her future. We have known this very poor family for 9 years, and supported her and her sisters at school. This new school specialises in teaching Israeli and Palestinian students together, along with many other 17-18 year olds from 50 countries around the world. It would open up for our student an amazing new world of possibilities, to dare to overcome their poverty, and be passionate for change.
Let’s give her a chance to explore this new and exciting world. Pcdc is still offering to transform young lives, to enable them to grow up and make a difference in their world.
Thank you and God bless you for all your help, which makes such transformations possible! The donations you send to us are changing lives, and giving children from poor homes a chance to discover their passions, dream dreams, and make their dreams and aspirations come true. How exciting is that!
Malcolm Jones and the Pcdc team.