Last Friday, 17/1/2014, I had the honor of volunteering in the screening day of an Operation Smile Mission in Al Hussein Hospital, Ein El Basha, Amman. Among students in my batch, only my friend Yazeed Azzam and I went to this event. It was the first time for both of us to participate in a mission by Operation Smile Jordan.
Originally, I came to know about Operation Smile Jordan through their facebook group. If you like to volunteer in Operation Smile Jordan then visit this group. My experience upon entering this group was the “most” beautiful one that I have ever had in my life. To spread the news about Opeartion Smile – Jordan, I wrote the following back in 03/06/2014 in my group “USMLE Takers – Jordan“:
Operation smile Jordan: Who hasn’t heard about operation smile? If you asked me about a voluntary medical organization, then this is the second that would cross my mind after “Doctors without borders”.
Operation Smile Jordanian website: http://jordan.operationsmile.org/
Their facebook group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/operationsmilejordan/
This is what is interesting: The admin welcomed me upon being accepted into the group with a comment (!!!). This was very nice because no one has ever welcomed me into a group before. Have you?
Next, she directed me to send them an email at ” email@example.com” containing my contact details and what I do in life. She said that they will send me later on a special application form based on my profession.
Later on, I was told that, at any time, if I wanted to know further information:
“I do recommend that you either call us at  or visit us to know about us and ways in which you can help”
Summary of my experience: I am now more encouraged to go not only because of how famous this organization is, but also, because of how enthusiastic the welcoming was!
Anybody going with me?
Back to last Friday, I had to arrive at the hospital at 8 AM and when I did, was surprised by the number of people who were crowding inside and outside a tent that was erected in front of the hospital’s main entrance for registration purpose (I think). I easily and quickly noticed the very beautiful yellow-colored shirts worn by volunteers of Operation smile. A friend of mine was outside there coordinating things (Dr. Rami Abu-Alhuda). Dr. Rami has a huge voluntary experience with Operation Smile. Hearing his description of his experience with operation smile was one of the main reason why I decided to go that day. I greeted him and he then told me to go inside,wear the Operation Smile shirt, and then find the job required from me.
Upon entering inside, I was happy with the huge number of volunteers. There were certainly many western volunteers. In addition, there were many Jordanian volunteers. Every one seemed to now what he was doing. I went and got my very comfortable and beautiful Operation Smile shirt.
Next, I was sent to an official Jordanian volunteer woman who checked a printed list to see where I am to work. I respect the organization of operation smile Jordan because they asked us to confirm our coming to the event 8 days before the mission. More impressing, they had sent us an email notifying us about this mission on 8/12/2013. This was the email:
We are glad to inform you of Operation Smile Jordan’s upcoming mission which is scheduled from January 17th to January 23rd, 2014 at Al Hussein Hospital , Ein el Basha.
Friday, January 17th, 2014 (6:30 am – 6:00 pm)
Note: On screening days, you are expected to work the WHOLE day from 6:30 am until 6:00 pm.
Sunday, January 18th, 2014 – Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
Note: On Surgery days, there will be two shifts (A and B).
Shift A: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm
Shift B: 12:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 (6:00 am – 3:00 pm)
Note: Meeting point for buses is at Regency hotel,Al Dakhleyyeh Circle.
Please note that buses will leave at their exact times so do not be late. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO SHOW UP WITHOUT PREVIOUS COORDINATION WITH THE HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE. If you are willing to participate with us in this mission you HAVE to reply to this email with the days and the shifts that are suitable for you As Soon As Possible!
Note: Deadline for reply, the end of Thursday January 9th,2014.
Attached to this email is a document containing things you might need to bring or do when attending the mission, therefore, you are kindly requested to read it.
Kindly be informed that if you are attending the mission and need a request for a leave of absence letter ( School, University, Work) please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A famous Jordanian plastic surgeon, Dr. Mahmood Bataineh, examined the hundreds of patients whom thought that Operation Smile could help them. Dr. Bataineh then filtered the patients whom operation smile could help. Those patients then passed through many examination rooms; vital signs, burns, anesthesia, dental, speech, among few others. I was assigned to one of the different examination rooms of the patients. I had the honor of getting to know many nice and special doctors: Prof. Mostafa El-Sonbaty from Egypt, Dr. Bivik Shah from the USA, and Dr. Osama Qaffaf from Jordan, among many others.
We started working at about 9 o’clock. The clinics continued working, non-stop until after 5 PM. Even a lunch break or a prayer break was not made. Always, someone stayed in the clinics in order that that the flow of patients will not be interrupted. During working, the minister of health, Dr. Ali Hiasat, visited our clinic. In total 113 patients were examined. A Swedish-American Anesthesiologist told me later that day that they would probably operate at least 90 of these patients.
I tried to participate in other days. I sent an email last Saturday stating which days I could come. However, I did not get a reply. I should have done that long time ago. Because their email stated that a person cannot simply “show up without previous coordination” and that the deadline of reply was “the end of Thursday January 9th,2014”. So, why I had not sent this email earlier? I actually did not expect that I want to come more than one day to this mission. This is what I wrote in the email on Saturday:
This is Jameel Hijazeen. Yesterday, I had the very nice experience of volunteering with operation smile for the first time in my life.
I did not know my schedule this week, and yes, I thought that I would be bored, and therefore I did not intend to come for more than the screening day.
I entirely changed my mind. If there were a place, I would certainly love to participate. I can come in up to three of these five shifts.
I hope that I will have time to participate in their future mission. The experience was great. You will get to know people from different countries, see multiple medical conditions, experience unforgettable moments children who have really bad problems but still had great spirits, get a free shirt, lunch, and a lot of Falafel Sandwiches 🙂 . And yes, if you volunteer long enough, they will give you a certificate with that. Unfortunately, I could not get a certificate :(.
I highly suggest that you go and try volunteering with Operation Smile!