Heleen's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Safely Home in Iraq

Posted on Sat, 02/23/2008 - 00:00 by Sarah_Al_Almani

After our big group of six patients with mothers and one father left in the morning to go to Israel, we had a couple hours to clean up everything for our new/old guests coming back from Israel at night. We all were very excited to see them again. Back in January they waited at our house in Jordan for the o.k. for traveling. Heleen, Tara,Diar and their mothers arrived at 9 pm, just in time for a little cake-and-tea-time. All the mothers described how beautiful Haifa and Tel Aviv are, and that I really have to go there. Heleen was shy, as I remembered her being from our last meeting, but Diar was smiling all the time. Hopefully he will never lose this.

After we finished eating, we sat chatting for a while. While the mothers spoke about their experiences with hospitals, surgeries and nurses, little Tara responded to everything with a "ja" (German word for yes).

During this time, Heleen found a little notebook with a pencil on my desk and wrote me several notes. Hopefully it was nothing important, because none of us were able to read it afterwards. Diar was reading a book his mom had lying next to her. He carefully turned every page (the whole book was without pictures), looked a few seconds at it, and then kept going on. Every child ignored the toys Manuela brought for them. But this time of sitting together and talking about the last weeks and months wasnt as long as we wanted it to be, because Heleen, her mum and Manuela had to get up very early the next morning to get their flight back home. Heleen's mother said that she enjoyed the time here in Jordan and Israel very much, and the little tears in her eye told that she wasnt ready to leave yet. We hope that she will be able to return to Israel (maybe in the summer?!) to have a surgery for her ears. The specialist in Haifa said that he would be ready anytime to help her.

The other morning, Diar, Tara and their mothers left our house. During the time that Tara and her mother were here for surgery, her husband worked two jobs to have enough money for their flight back home. He hopes to be able to quit one of them when his family is back together. Both moms had a lot of stuff with them and even in the morning they packed and unpacked their things so their luggage wouldn't be overweight. May the Lord bless them all in their journeys home.

Tonight Manuela called the mother of Heleen and she told us that they arrived in Iraq safely.

Heleen May Not Require Surgery

Posted on Thu, 01/24/2008 - 00:00 by Simantov_Allalouf

Heleen had her first examination by an Israeli cardiologist today, and her mother received the stunning news that apparently Helen will be just fine without surgery at this time! She was told that in about ten years Heleen's condition, which is a small hole in the heart, can be re-evaluated. It is possible she may never require surgery after all. We will update this page when this is confirmed.

Heleen Enjoying the Beauty of Haifa

Posted on Wed, 01/23/2008 - 00:00 by Philip_Saa

Three-year-old Helen and her mother are staying with us now [Philip is pastor of the Haifa Baptist Church] and the child is excited to make new friends with my children, she is enjoying the spectacular view from our house, and very excited playing with our cat. She and her mother have also enjoyed the experience of a shopping mall in their first-ever travels outside of Kurdistan, Iraq.

Meanwhile I am waiting to hear from cardiologist Dr. Lorber at the Rambam Medical Center about when to bring Helen for her first examinations in preparation for her life-saving, life-changing surgery.

Heleen Arrives In Israel

Posted on Tue, 01/22/2008 - 00:00 by Simantov_Allalouf

Heleen arrived in Israel late this afternoon and was in good spirits, but that all changed as her travelling companion (Shinyar) got into the other car with Alex to go to Jerusalem. From that point on, Heleen would not let us see her face or take a picture of her. She is now with her host family in Haifa awaiting her first visit to hospital for her initial tests.

Shevet Achim staff member Dirk describes the time Heleen and her mother spent in their home in Jordan:

We had a very special time with Heleen's mother. After we found out that Shinyar had come with the mother as escort instead of the grandmother (and a completely new visa application for Shinyar's mother was needed), Heleen's mother voluntered to wait here with her, instead of moving on to Israel with the other mothers. Heleen is pictured below, on the left side, with her new friend Shinyar.

Heleen's mother was married at age 13. Although she is now in her early 30s, she has one son in university. She laughs a lot and always cheered up the other mothers and from the first days asked us about prayer and reading the book. She was prepared for this through films in her language at home. She is joyful and open to learn more in many ways. Her friendly kind of humor makes it very easy to love her and her lovely daughter. Although Heleen's mother has extreme hearing problems and uses a hearing aid, she trusts that there will be a better solution for this. You could pray for this as well.

During the three weeks here with us, Heleen enjoyed playing with our kids in the playroom or outside on the swing or the tricycle. She loves little babies more than everything and cried hard when other mothers and babies left our house. You see Heleen and her mother on the right during a nice picnic with a campfire in a nearby "forest."