Jordan clinic brings healing, hope to refugees
AMMAN, Jordan — The child, Mohammed, was too small for his age and looked very fragile. Dr. Amy* knew he wasn’t getting enough to eat.
The toddler, his mother, and grandmother, Mama Faiza,* step cautiously into Hope Clinic, a free medical service located in the basement of an evangelical church in Amman, Jordan. The two women slowly survey the room. As Iraqi refugees in Jordan, they expect they will not be welcome.
When a nurse greets them with a warm smile, Mama Faiza actually becomes fearful. She asks hesitantly, “Is there something wrong?”
Kindness was the last thing she expected.
“Life for Iraqi refugees in Jordan is far from easy,” says Dr. Amy, who has worked at the clinic for 12 years. “After their initial three-month visa runs out, they are in the country illegally. Iraqis do not qualify for refugee status. Being in the country illegally means they cannot work. Whatever little cushion of savings they brought with them gets used up for living expenses. Not being recognized as refugees also means they have to find their own housing and often are taken advantage of, having to pay far too much for derelict apartments. Some find work illegally, but always run the risk of being rounded up by the police and deported back to Iraq.”
The clinic’s all-volunteer staff says that when patients discover they are going to be treated like human beings loved by God, they often say, “You are the only people who have ever treated us as something more than dogs.”