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Unexpected friendship gives Palestinian Christian courage to stay in Bethlehem

When the coronavirus was reported in Bethlehem in early March, the Palestinian Authority began imposing restrictions in the West Bank, shutting down the Bethlehem district and surrounding towns. The Caritas Baby Hospital thus found a need to adapt its mission to the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

WAFA’ MUSLEH
Caritas Baby Hospital, Bethlehem
“The Ministry of Health has entrusted Caritas Baby Hospital with conducting diagnostic tests for coronavirus. There is a separate building here nearby, related to Caritas, where we receive all the [test] samples.”

Wafa’ Musleh, a Palestinian Christian who works at the hospital, says Caritas is offering other concrete forms of aid, including medication and counseling.

WAFA’ MUSLEH
Caritas Baby Hospital, Bethlehem
“For example, in Caritas Baby Hospital, we are doing counseling even, when they call us. We have visiting mothers here, [whose] children are suffering from different diseases. They get counseling here.”

In August 2013, Wafa’ met a Catholic community of Italian pilgrims visiting Bethlehem. She says the friendship that developed between them has become a companionship that helps her live with joy and hope in Bethlehem.

WAFA’ MUSLEH
Caritas Baby Hospital, Bethlehem
“Through this friendship God opened my heart and my eyes to know how to live the freedom within my soul and not my body. This is something that I could not reach alone, as a Christian Palestinian living in the Holy Land.”

Although Wafa’ wanted to leave behind the challenges of being a Christian in Bethlehem, her friends’ support gave her the strength to stay and continue working at the hospital. Countless other Christians in the Holy Land are also in need of someone to lean on, which is why they appreciate all the help they can get.