In Sickness and in Health
It was just another regular day for Mostafa Sharif Heshim, when the medical team from UNIFIL's Indonesian battalion paid him a house call in Rabb Tlettine town, in order to check on his wounds.
Two years ago Mostafa had a terrible accident when both his knee caps were badly injured, and ever since then, the Indonesian doctor and nurses visit him in his home. At first it was on a daily basis, when his situation demanded constant attention.
The Indonesian doctor in charge, Dr. Tego Sulistyono, explained that upon every visit they change his bandages, clean his wound, and provide him with the disinfectants that he needs.
"Whenever the patient wants us to visit, we come to help. And these people need our help and we are glad to offer it" said Dr. Sulistyono.
Mostafa's wife, Sannaa, who is a mother of four kids, makes her gratitude to UNIFIL peacekeepers known to everyone. "We really don't know how to repay them; they are very good to us. Whenever we call them, they come right away" she said.
The Indonesian medical house calls for the local population started two years ago, when Mostafa's neighbors approached the peacekeepers seeking their help and medical expertise.
"Mostafa's neighbors asked us if we can help him, or at least provide him with some painkillers" said first lieutenant Dany Steven.
"We do our rounds in the area two days per week. Mostafa is one of our 3 serious cases that still need our constant medical attention" noted Steven.
A few meters from Mostafa's house, the second house call took place. Fattme Rashid, an elderly woman, or as the Indonesian medical peacekeepers call her "Mama, welcomed them into her arms. The female Indonesian nurses asked "Mama" how she is feeling, and if she needed any help.
"They used to come every day to change my wounds after my operation. I had a stroke and had to lose my leg afterwards. The Indonesian medical team was always by my side. I would have never anticipated such a good treatment and care" said Fattme, while sharing coffee with the peacekeepers.
Her husband Abd El Karim Barakat is as grateful for their medical assistance as is his wife.
"We feel as if they are our family. They used to come every day, no matter what the circumstances are. They never left us until my wife's wound got better."
The medical team arrives in Touline and here is another story of dedication, appreciation, and true friendship. Second sergeant "Laode Odear" from the Indonesian battalion doesn't speak any Arabic and the patient Abdallah El Hassan doesn't speak any English, and yet they have managed to become very good friends, so much that Abdallah has added the last name "Awala" to Odear's name.
Odear now carries the family name "Awala", as most people in this town, because we feel he has become one of us and therefore we should give him our name" said Mr. Abdallah.
The patient's daughter Fattme lauded the peacekeepers' medical and humanitarian treatment received by her father. Mr. Abdallah underwent an operation in his back and needed some medicines and follow-up afterwards. He contacted a common friend to see if UNIFIL can help him. And soon enough the Indonesian's medical team started visiting him regularly to check on his wounds.
"I would like to really thank them for never letting me down and immediately accepting to help me. They are actually doing more than their jobs here" said Abdallah.
And not only have the Indonesian peacekeepers visited the El Hassans for medical assistance, but also for luncheons, as was the case last Sunday. They shared food and stories in a familial ambiance, exploring their different cultures and backgrounds.