Halima Gets Back to Raising Sheep and Making Cheese in Palestine
“Health is a crown only seen by those who lose it,” - Halima
Hajja Halima, 64, is a resident of the village of Beit Anan near Ramallah in the West Bank of Palestine. The natural beauty of the rocky hillsides in the vicinity of Beit Anan is striking.
Halima raises sheep on her small farm. “I check on them every morning. They represent everything in my day. I would spend hours on end with them,” she says. Agriculture is the dominant economic sector in the village, accounting for some 45 percent of employment.
Halima is well-known for her excellent gourmet cheese. Her cheese is so popular she must keep a list of customer reservations so that she doesn’t accept more orders than she can fulfill.
Demand is even higher during Ramadan. Qatayef, a sweet dumpling, is traditionally eaten during the holy month. The dessert is made by folding small pancakes – fried to crunchy, golden perfection – over nuts or light cheese, and drizzling the confection in sugar syrup.
One day recently while herding her sheep, she experienced a sudden pain in her abdomen. She rushed to the medical clinic in Beit Anan.
Fortunately, the clinic is well-prepared for treating bacterial infections, as well as other threats to health common in farming communities.
“Scorpion stings and seasonal parasitic infections are rife,” says Dr. Rafat, a physician at the Beit Anan clinic. There are several types of parasites in the area dangerous to humans. Some enter the body by way of contaminated food or water and some live on the skin and the hair. Diarrhea is the most common malady the clinic treats, generally the result of poor diet or contaminated food, Dr. Rafat says.
Anera and Beit Anan clinic recently strengthened their partnership. The clinic is a vital health care facility for local residents.
Periodically the clinic arranges free medical days, providing care for those who could not otherwise afford it. The free days are promoted through ads and social media.
After examination and testing, the clinic staff determined that Hajja Halima has contracted gastroenteritis – an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
The clinic prescribes Halima metronidazole, an antibiotic used to treat infections. The medicine was available thanks to an Anera shipment provided by Direct Relief.
Now that Halima is feeling better, she is back to work at her farm, making more delicious cheese for her neighbors.