“Thanks to the ingenuity of my co-volunteers, we turned the Mother Theresa Clinic into a better place”

"I chose to volunteer in Gondar after my IDF service because Ethiopia has strongly influenced Israeli culture. Having trained and volunteered with Magen David Adom (MDA) in high school, I chose to work in the Mother Theresa Clinic.
The clinic provides health care for people who have no money at all. The poorest of the poor. It is filled with the saddest stories you can think of. 
The work was very demanding. I still recall how difficult it was for me the first time I saw a patient in the final stages of TB, the first time I saw children with disabling injuries who were abandoned there by poverty stricken parents who could not care for them. 
Our volunteers cared. We built areas in the clinic for the children to play soccer and basketball. With physiotherapy exercises, I helped straighten the curved spines of TB patients and watched them walk again.
I am so glad had the opportunity to have volunteered with such talented people from Israel and Jewish communities around the world."
 
Shai Mark from Haifa, Israel / Project TEN - Gondar, Ethiopia 

Q&A

למה בחרת להתנדב ב"תן"?

רציתי להשפיע בעוד מקומות בעולם, מקומות שאף אחד לא מכיר אותי שם, ורציתי לשנות את החיים של מישהו. היה לי מזל שמצאתי את "תן", כי להבדיל ממסגרות התנדבות אחרות, היא גם התאימה לאדם דתי כמוני".

מה הדבר הכי מעניין שקרה לך ב"תן"?

"הדרך שבה אני מבין את היהדות השתנתה אצלי. היו איתי מתנדבים שהגיעו מרקע חיים שונה ומגוון. למדתי מהמפגשים האנושיים האלה. למשל, למדתי מיהודי חרדי ומלימודי הגמרא אתו, וגם מיהודים רפורמים ותפיסת עולמם".

ממה הכי התרגשת?

"מהמפגש והחברות האמתית שנוצרה לי עם ברקט, ילד קטן שהתייתם כששני הוריו מתו מאיידס – ילד שתמיד התבודד ונחבא אל הכלים. בסופו של יום, השליחות של כולנו כיהודים היא "לתקן" – להפוך את העולם למקום טוב יותר"

At the end of it all, our mission as Jews is "l'taken" – to make the world a better place.

Baraket is the cutest kid on Earth. He and his sister were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS. They are receiving anti-retroviral treatment at the clinic. My patients joked that he was 'my kid' because until I arrived, he did not engaged with anyone; he was subdued and kept to himself. One day, I was outside treating a patient with a broken leg, and Baraket came and just stared at me. I carried on with my work, and after a while, he approached me and hugged me. Since then, every day, he would come for a hug or to play. I was so happy to hear that he and his sister were adopted on the day we left for Israel.

A Project TEN representative with Ethiopian youth in Gondar province