Aveen's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Waiting 25 Years For This Opportunity

Posted on Mon, 03/12/2012 - 23:10 by Liliya Semenyuk

Within half an hour of our arrival at the hospital, we were greeted by the broad, welcoming smiles of both Yaqoob and his grandmother. What a relief to meet another Kurdish family who speaks both dialects of Kurdish, and who already knows the ropes around the hospital! The two older women quickly connected and became friends, while I went with Aveen for her first echo in Israel. Without words to understand each other, and communicating simply through motions and a few phrases that happen to cross over between Badini and Sorani Kurdish, Aveen held my hand during the entire echo, occasionally peering deep into my eyes. I don't know what she saw, but I hoped with all my might that my eyes were speaking love and reassurance. Aveen squeezed with surprising strength when in pain during this brief procedure, as two silent tears trailed down the side of her face. She is not one to complain, however, even in trying situations; she seems to accept everything with much grace, patience, and forgiveness.

A doctor's desk is quite a sight to see: an agglomeration of papers and books crowds almost every available square centimeter, even taking up invisible desk space as they hang off the edges. No wonder the x-ray order had lain on the doctor

Aveen Arrives, Gentle and Quiet

Posted on Sun, 03/11/2012 - 11:31 by Jonathan Miles

25-year-old Aveen and her mother flew into Jordan on Shabbat along with two other children, and after the end of Shabbat we made our way down into the Jordan Valley and across the river into Israel. We're thankful for the grace and kindness the border personnel showed as we arrived close to closing time.

Aveen seems to have a gentle and quiet spirit, and the women her age in our community are looking forward to building a good relationship with her. Aveen's mother is an older woman, and we all had the same first impression that she was deeply suspicious of these strange people she was meeting. Probably she's never been outside of her home region, and (like all of us) life has given her some good reason to be suspicious of others. But after a few hours it seemed she was relaxing and even smiling a bit.

We're aiming to take Aveen to the Sheba Medical Center for her first exams on Tuesday after she and her mother have had a little time to settle in and build some trust with our community. We're grateful for those who've given to help bring her to Israel, and for continued prayer as she walks through these most important days in her young life. 

Aveen Seeking Her Future In Israel

Posted on Wed, 02/22/2012 - 14:21 by Ryan Gregg

Aveen is a twenty-five year old, unmarried woman from Kurdistan, northern Iraq. Her heart condition is complex and life-threatening. It is called Tetrology of Fallot, a syndrome of four distinct defects in the heart. In addition, her pulmonary artery is dangerously narrow, preventing blood-flow from her heart to her lungs. 

Aveen is one of five children, with two brothers and two sisters. She has spent her whole life in Iraq, and because of her heart condition, has been unable to have an occupation. Her visa application has just been submitted, and we are hoping to see her in Jerusalem at Shevet Achim on Sunday, March 4, 2012. 

An open heart surgery in Israel will swing open the doors of Aveen's future, allowing her to be healthy and active, things every young woman deserves.