Volunteering with Operation Smile Mission in Jordan – January 17th, 2014

Logo of Operation Smile

Logo of Operation Smile

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 ” info@operationsmile.jo” 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 [0777327510] 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.

Before I enter to wear my shirt and start working, a view of the dawn at 7:53 AM, above a mosque in Al-Baqa Refugee Camp, Amman, Jordan.

Before I enter to wear my shirt and start working, a view of the dawn at 7:53 AM, above a mosque in Al-Baqa Refugee Camp, Amman, Jordan.

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.

Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and I with our very beautiful and comfortable operation smile shirts.

Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and I with our very beautiful and comfortable operation smile shirts.

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:

Dear  Volunteers,

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.

Screening days:

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.

Surgery days:

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 info@operationsmile.jo

Ghalia Bassam 

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.

All of the doctors who worked in our clinic, plus some other volunteers.

All of the doctors who worked in our clinic, plus some other volunteers.

My friend Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and the volunteers in his clinic

My friend Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and the volunteers in his clinic

Name Tag of Dr. Bivik Shah. I place this Tag because an interesting info. According to Dr. Shah, name "Bivik" is very unique all over the world. I think that he told me that only he got that name. Isn't this interesting? To have a name that only few people in the whole world have?

Name Tag of Dr. Bivik Shah. I place this Tag because an interesting info. According to Dr. Shah, name “Bivik” is very unique all over the world. I think that he told me that only he got that name. Isn’t this interesting? To have a name that only few people in the whole world have?

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.

A sixth-year student from the University of Jordan and I were required to keep record of all the patients who were examined in our clinic. This was the last paper we filled. The number of the last patient was 113.

A sixth-year student from the University of Jordan and I were required to keep record of all the patients who were examined in our clinic. This was the last paper we filled. The number of the last patient was 113. And yes, thanks Dr. Yazeed for allowing me to take the photo using the back of your Operation Smile shirt as a background 🙂

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!

Moa’bite participates in Samsung Amman International Marathon 2013

Brochure of Samsung Amman International Marathon 2013.

For the third year in a row, I was a participant in Samsung Amman International Marathon (The 10 km fun run). This year’s Marathon took place on Friday, October the 4th, 2013.

Contents of the running bag (shown below right) that  I got after registering at the Olympic village and paying 15 JD ($21)

Contents of the running bag (shown below right) that  I got after registering at the Olympic village and paying 15 JD ($21)

During this year’s competition, I took many photos. During running alone, I took more than 45 photos. I am mentioning this because this prevented me from concentrating all of my powers on the running itself. I finished in 50 minutes and few seconds. If I only finished one minute earlier, I would have ranked higher than my last year’s rank of 199. This year, I ranked 314.

This year’s 10 km Fun Run was different from those of the previous two years in that it had a slightly changed route. I did not pay attention to that before going to the Marthon. I did not bother myself to look at the Marathon route. As a result, I was confused during the running process. This is a lesson that I will not ever forget!

Nonetheless, I am very happy because I was able to take some beautiful photos (at least in my eyes). I put firstly the photos that I like the most. I took them using OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA, VG110,D700. I edited them using Google Picasa 3.9.0 (I love this program). Another great program by Google!

Jordanian Public Directorate Helicopter that flew over us at the beginning line. How beautiful is it to live in a safe country!

Jordanian Public Directorate Helicopter that flew over us at the beginning line. How beautiful is it to live in a safe country!

Jordanian Public Directorate Helicopter that flew over us at the beginning line. How beautiful is it to live in a safe country!

Jordanian Public Directorate Helicopter that flew over us at the beginning line. How beautiful is it to live in a safe country!

The start line for the 10 km fun run of Samsung Amman International Marathon 2013.

The start line for the 10 km fun run of Samsung Amman International Marathon 2013.

Runners and a police car in Abdali area. I took it in the street between the Headquarters of Umniah Company and the Abdali project.

Runners and a police car in Abdali area. I took it in the street between the Headquarters of Umniah Company and the Abdali project.

Runners in front of the Abdali project.

Runners in front of the Abdali project.

Samsung Logo in the Roman Amphitheater, Amman, Jordan.

Samsung Logo in the Roman Amphitheater, Amman, Jordan.

Media Center for Samsung Amman International Marathon 2013.

Media Center for Samsung Amman International Marathon 2013.

Samsung balloons flying in the sky of Amman.

Samsung balloons flying in the sky of Amman.

Samsung balloons flying in the sky of Amman.

Samsung balloons flying in the sky of Amman.

And finally, me : )

Moa'bite in at the celebration area of Samsung Amman International Marathon 2013.

More photos from the Marathon:

Registration in the Olympic village of the Marathon in Al Hussein Public Parks:

PA030024PA030025PA030026PA030027PA030028PA030032PA030034PA030035PA030036PA030037PA030038PA030039PA030041PA030042An Ad for the Marathon in front of City MallThis photo is irrelevant to the Marathon. It shows City Mall. One of the most beautiful malls in Jordan. I like it.

Last, and certainly not least:

Thank you Samsung for yearly supporting this great event:

Samsung Amman International Marathon

Samsung Amman International Marathon

German Movies Series at Goethe Institute, Amman, Jordan

Goethe Institutes Logo

 

I have attended two movies so far in Goethe institute Amman. I mainly attended these movies because I wanted to improve my German.  No one told me how things happen when these movies are shown. Here I am now trying to give a picture of what takes place each time a movie is shown. Overall, my experience was great!

 

A man from the Institute, who seems to me a good expert on movies, gives a few minutes of explanation in "German" regarding the background of the movie (the actors, the directors, the plots, the prizes the movie won; if any, important points to concentrate on, etc.). Can all the audience fully understand what is said? The answer is no and this is easily deduced because the head of Goethe Institute in Amman always translates what is being said in German.

We then watch the movie which is shown with subtitles (in the previous two times, they were Arabic).

After the movie finishes, and this is the best part in my opinion, the audience discusses the movie. This is a very beautiful thing because I am always impressed by the different ways each one seem to understand the movie. “Did we watch the same movie?” I one time asked myself.

Sometimes, points of disagreement arise. Each one would then have a chance to explain his point of view. The discussion takes place in German. At least, at the beginning! But as the heat of discussion increases, or as some of the non-German speaking people want to participate, the discussion ends in English. Very interesting!

"User discretion is advisable" as the movies are shown in full without any kind of censorship of the sexually-explicit contents. So, there will come the moments in which there are no clothes… kissing… so on and so forth of these scenes that are NEVER shown on Arabic channels airing foreign movies. This does not mean that the audience is all-males! Many females are there.

All in all, I have not formulated a full opinion regarding how much “language” benefit you get from attending such an activity by Goethe institute. Because last time, the movie that they showed told the story of an Italian family that immigrated to Germany. Nothing is wrong with the story, on the contrary, it was a nice movie. The problem was that at least 2/3 of the movie was in Italian! “It is a good movie, but I came to Goethe to improve my German”. I raised my hand and gave this feedback during the discussion. I think that they agreed with me.

I highly think that I will re-try the experience and attend others movies at Goethe! If the head of Goethe Institute is there translating and attending the movie with us, then this shows me how carefully prepared this activity is!

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p>An Ad of the coming movie that will be shown in Goethe on 31.10.2013

Prof. Jean Decety in Amman and an interesting Lecture about the Neurobiological Mechanisms of Empathy and Caring for Others

I had the honor of attending a lecture by a French American Professor called Jean Decety from the University of Chicago. The lecture took place in the building of the Jordan Society of Scientific Research (JSSR) in Amman on Wednesday, 11/09/2013 (If you want to keep updated with the activities of the JSSR, here is a link to their facebook page). The title of the lecture of Prof. Decety was:

 الآليات العصبية الحيوية التي تشكل الأساس للتعاطف و الاهتمام بالآخرين لدى الإنسان 
Neurobiological Mechanisms of Empathy and Caring for Others

The topic of the lecture seemed strange to me. For minutes, I thought of not attending this lecture. Firstly, I could not imagine about what this lecture would be. Secondly, I did not know how important Prof. Decety is. Nonetheless, because I trusted my friend who recommended this lecture for me (Thank you Dr. Ali Alfar) and because I am interested in psychiatry my possible future specialty, then I googled the name of Prof. Decety. Quickly, I discovered that there is a detailed Wikipedia page about Prof. Decety. Can anyone have a detailed wikipedia page? I also found multiple articles mentioning him. Therefore, I decided quickly to attend because I thought that I would benefit something from this lecture no matter how boring the topic turned out to be.

A friend of mine and I decided to go to this lecture. My friend is also interested in psychiatry. We arrived a few minutes before the lecture started. Prof. Decety then arrived. From the first few minutes, I could deduce that he is a jolly person, funny, and to my relive, that I would not bored by the “weird” lecture that was to come.

The lecture started. A Dr. Rana Dajani introduced Prof. Decety. I understood that Dr. Dajani and Prof. Decety conducted are conducting researches together.

The lecture started with Prof. Decety talking a little bit about his family (From my short experience in attending conferences, this is something usual with western doctors). Prof. Decety explained briefly about the research center in which he works “The University of Chicago Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (SCNL).” Prof. Decety is the head of this center. This information really impressed me because Prof. Decety is French. He had his Bachelor degree, three master degrees, and PhD in France [1]. Nonetheless, Prof. Decety’s un-American origin did not prevent the University of Chicago from appointing him as a head of a research center as important as the SCNL. What matters are qualifications! This reminded me of multiple articles that spoke about how the USA attracts scientists from all over the world. Why would not it? Is not the story of Prof. Decety an excellent example why this occurs?

As the topic of the lecture became more and more clear to me, I started enjoying the multiple researches about which Prof. Decety spoke. I was impressed a lot with a sentence that Prof. Decety used to describe himself: “I am an Evolutionary Psychologist.” I have never heard about a branch of science with that name. However, it was not hard for me to expect what this branch of study is about: Explaining pychology in view of evolution! [Here is a wikipedia article about Evolutionary Psychology]! This is very amazing! I love evolution and I think it is very logical to use it to explain biology. It turned out that it can also explain “psychology”… Those atheistic infidels!

Prof. Jean Decety, with active use of body language, answering the audience questions.

Prof. Jean Decety, with active use of body language, answering the audience questions.

Prof. Jean Decety, with active use of body language, answering the audience questions.

From the very first minutes of the lecture, Prof. Decety mentioned the “taboo” of evolution. An attending student raised his hand and asked a question that initially appeared to be related to the lecture’s topic. Nonetheless, because I come from this society, I knew from the beginning that it was a matter of the speaker wanting to prove that evolution is wrong. The questions did not stop and were more and more indirectly revolving about the correctness of Evolution. It is really a pity that many of the people around me still discuss whether evolution is correct or not! The world is way ahead of us. I do not think that this should be a topic of discussion anymore. The debate increased and another student joined. It was then consuming a lot of time that Dr. Dajani finally intervened and said (something like): “The discussion is now about Evolution and it will not end! Evolution is compatible with religion. Some think that it is not. Here at the society we will have a lecture that shows the compatibility of evolution with religion. Let us continue the lecture.” The lecture finally resumed!

Religious explanations are so wide! I really do not understand how accepting evolution contradicts the belief in God! // Source: religifake.com

Religious explanations are so wide! I really do not understand how accepting evolution contradicts the belief in God! // Source: religifake.com

Prof. Decety then explained about multiple studies. Of interest, Prof. Decety talked about the findings that the hormone oxytocin increased empathy. Prof. Decety then suggested jokingly, but also, almost seriously as of someone really concerned:

"Some studies show that the hormone oxytocin increase empathy in human beings" Prof. Jean Decety, the University of Chicago.

“Some studies show that the hormone oxytocin increase empathy in human beings” Prof. Jean Decety, the University of Chicago.

I did not feel the time pass before the lecture ended. At his last slide, Prof. Decety had put the links of the facebook pages of his two lab: The SCNL and the Child Neuro Suite. He asked if we could like it (The link for the SCNL is here and the link to the Child Neuro Suite is here). Next, the audience asked some questions and Prof. Decety happily answered them.

Next, I smiled a lot when I saw Prof. Decety holding a camera. What made me smile was that Prof. Decety was more interested to take photos more than the audience members who wanted to be photographed with him. When I saw the situation like this, I happily asked my friend [Thank you Dr. Fadi Walid Farah] to take a photo of me with Prof. Decety. Here I am now publishing it proudly (I hope that Prof. Decety does not mind that).

Jameel Hijazeen with Prof. Jean Decety, Amman, Jordan, September, 2013

[1] Jean Decety, Wikipedia, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Decety

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