Zhino's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Reunion of Iraqi Families in Haifa

Posted on Sun, 07/15/2007 - 07:54 by Pastor_Philip_Saad
Today was a glorious day for several reasons. First it was the Lords day. Second it was a reunion day for the Iraqis, as all three mothers and children in Haifa got together. Third it was a day of great healing. Omar is recovering amazingly. He ate a big piece of pizza. Fourth Sam was off of the oxygen for much time, and also ate several times, praise the Lord. He's pictured below as a living doll for Zhino's amusement!
Dr. Shirley is considering sending Sam out of the hospital for a week and then bringing him back for a check-up.

Zhino's New Haircut

Posted on Tue, 07/10/2007 - 07:54 by Lee_Liang_Chian
Zhino has been eating well. She is willing to try a variety of food, so she should be gradually gaining weight while she waits her turn to be brought to Rambam. She also needs to be certified cleared of chicken-pox, which broke out a week ago, one day before she left Jordan to come over to Haifa, Israel.

Yesterday, Zhino had her curly locks trimmed off by Mary, the lady at the flower shop next to our apartment on Allenby Road. Um Zhino is obviously preparing her little darling for her stay at the hospital!

With Younis and his mum leaving the apartment this morning for Rambam Hospital, Narmeen is concerned about getting a local SIM card for her mobile, so that her family back in Iraq can contact her directly. Her wish will probably be granted later today, after we have settled Younis into Rambam.

Last night, Zhino and Younis had great fun looking at the photos and video clips I took of them at the beach and at home. Then Zhino got really jealous when Younis gave me a kiss, so she in turn grabbed Younis and stunned him with a huge smooch on his chubby cheeks! She's gonna miss Younis' calling out her name every morning to wake her up!


A Walk to the Beach

Posted on Sun, 07/08/2007 - 07:54 by Lee_Liang_Chian
Zhinos bout of chicken pox was short-lived, and she has been particularly restless the last couple of days. Zhino's mother and I had a busy time running after her to keep her from exploring the contents of the fridge, from disappearing out of the apartment to view the street scene, and even scooping a drink out of the pail of water meant for cleaning the floor!

So yesterday evening, I packed some pizza and peaches and took the two Iraqi families (Zhino and her mother, and Younis and his mother) for a walk to the beach near our apartment. Everyone got very excited at the first sighting of the sea from afar, and Narmeen explained to me that where they live in the Kurdish part of Iraq, they have mountains but not the sea. Zhino clapped her hands and yelled, Bahar, bahar (sea) for several minutes as we laughed our way down to the beach.

Zhino had a great time as she could release her pent-up energy. She ran around chasing after the wind and disturbing a couple of cats. As she watched the Israeli children frolicking on the rocks, she eventually plucked up courage and to our surprise and concern, she scrambled up without checking if any of us was nearby to catch her! Her mum enjoyed recording her daughters antics on her digital camera. The sea breeze whetted Zhinos appetite. Besides the slice of pizza, she also ate some kebabs and potatoes which our neighbour Siham brought to us when we returned home two hours later. At four, Zhino is definitely underweight as she weighs the same as two-and-a-half-year-old Younis, just over 11 kilograms.

Although cheerful most of the time, Zhino's mother is anxious for her daughter to be scheduled for her medical treatment soon, especially when she sees photos of other Iraqi children such as Omar and Sam recovering from their operations, with ruddy complexions, albeit with long scars down their chests.

Setting Up House

Posted on Thu, 07/05/2007 - 07:54 by Lee_Liang_Chian
Narmeen (Zhino's mother) has five sons, and five-year-old Zhino is her youngest and only daughter. Nevertheless she does not spoil this little girl who tends to want her own way. But I found that coaxing and praise works well with Zhino, especially as she is running a fever from her bout of chicken pox and itching all over!

Zhino was bathed twice today (I think shell get another shower again tonight!), and she was delighted when her mum put some make-up on her, as diversion from the itching as well as from boredom at home. Zhino has made friends with Jennifer, the daughter of the neighbour next door, but these girls have their little fights too.

Meanwhile Narmeen has naturally taken over as the house-keeper at the apartment in Haifa. She was one happy lady when I came home (after my visit with Um Omar at the Rambam Hospital) with her specific requests for sugar and matches. (Check out the blog on Younis to find out what happened at 5.00am this morning!). I added to her joy with a good supply of chicken, eggs, frozen pizza buns, butter, milk, and the much needed SHAMPOO! The two Iraqi mothers Bushra (Um Younes) and Narmeen (Um Zhino) washed their long tresses late last night (after our long drive from Karak via Amman) and again this afternoon!

Since the airlines lost one of their luggage bags, Narmeen needed to get some clothes for herself and Zhino. This evening, they were taken to the storehouse of a local church where Narmeen found not only clothes for herself and her daughter, but also household things for the apartment: cups, plates, water jugs, bedsheets, even a small knife. Oh well, the cleaning of this stockpile will keep her happily occupied tomorrow. And we are all grateful to have some useful things in the spartan apartment! Donors of a television and computer, anyone?

Zhino Reaches Israel At Last

Posted on Wed, 07/04/2007 - 07:54 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Zhino is pictured above on the bus crossing the Jordan River into Israel, where there is promise of a new heart and life for this Iraqi child

Todays been a long day for Zhino and her mum (Um Zhino). They left the home of our Jordan coordinator Dirk after a hearty breakfast and headed for Amman, together with Younis and his mum Bushra. In Amman, they rested from their long drive at our apartment while Shevet staffer Alex went to the Israeli Embassy to collect their visas.

Zhino definitely has chicken-pox and her little body has many more pimples by the afternoon, but we decided nonetheless to bring her to Israel while we had opportunity. Her mum applied some cream (left over from Younis medication for his chickenpox) and shes a happy little girl getting much attention from Jenae and me (LC).

We had shwarma sandwiches on the go as we had to get to the Jordan-Israel border as soon as possible, because it would be another long drive all the way to Haifa. The weather was hot, and mid-way through our meandering journey, Zhino threw up part of her lunch! Apart from this messy episode, Zhino seems none the worse for her illness.

This blog is written in the Shevet van while the group is having a take-away dinner in Israel of juice, sandwiches and chips (pictured above; from left, our driver Simantov, Zhino and mother, me, Younis and mother, and fellow staffer Jenae). Well arrive in Haifa after 10.30 pm, and tomorrow, well have to go shopping for some clothes as the airlines lost one of the bags containing Um Zhinos things.

Despite all difficulties, we thank the Lord that this precious little girl is a big step closer to the surgery which can give her hope for her future.

Zhino May Have Chicken Pox

Posted on Tue, 07/03/2007 - 07:54 by Lee_Liang_Chian

The Shevet team arrived in Jordan this evening to finally bring Zhino and Younis across the border to Israel, where they will await their turn to be operated at Haifas Rambam Hospital. (Their travel has been delayed almost one month as we waited for final approval of their visas).


Zhino and her mum are eager to go to Israel, but just a while ago, her mum told Manuela (wife of Dirk, Shevet's coordinator in Jordan) that Zhino seems to be running a fever, and pointed to a few pimples on the little girl's body--possible signs of chicken pox?!!

We will monitor the situation and if it is confirmed that Zhino does have chicken pox, then she'll have to stay on in Jordan until she has recovered.

Zhino to Arrive In Israel Tomorrow

Posted on Tue, 06/05/2007 - 07:54 by Dirk_Kleinloh

Zhino and three other Iraqi patients will travel to Israel from Jordan on Wednesday, in preparation for heart treatment at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Zhino was the last of the group to arrive this week in Jordan, since a problem with her mother's passport prevented them from boarding their originally-scheduled flight. Her mother's suitcase did make the original flight, and hasn't been seen since.

Zhino is a very active little girl. She has four older brothers. Her mother is easy to deal with, and very thankful for all the help. We'll update this page with more details after their arrival in Israel.