Carol and Gerald Cope regularly bring their Great Pyrenees dogs, Sido and Bhalu to the bench dedicated in memory of Patricia G. Bassetti next to the VitaPro store at the top of the hill. Carol reports that the dogs like to watch the passersby. (Gerald and Bhalu are hidden from view here but both owners and both dogs can be seen in another photo at http://closeup.brianrudnick.com)
"This is a wonderful experience that I have had along with the Affel family from slightly before Christmas to the middle of January seeing the improvement in 'Mohammed,' English-wise, relationship-wise with all of us in America and again with his rehabilitation. When he came here he couldn’t move his arm at all. It was simply limp. And the wonderful physicians here in Philadelphia have been able to fix his arm, put titanium in his arm and get muscle attachment and now 'Mohammed,' with his second cast, has full movement of his hand." Carl Frank with “Mohammed”, Chestnut Hill Coffee Co. [NOTE: I did a video interview with “Mohammed”, not his real name, in December but afterwards, because of concerns about his safety when he returns to Iraq, that video and the photographic portrait, are being withheld from publication. I ran into Mohammed and Frank the other day at the coffee shop. Below is the transcript of the original interview.- Brian Rudnick] PLEASE TELL ME YOUR STORY. My name is [deleted] I graduated from the institute majoring in electricity. I graduated from the institute but couldn't find work so I worked as a cleaner, non-government affiliated and made about 8000 Iraqi dinar a day [about $6 US] I was hit by a car bomb along with my colleagues, nine of whom died and I survived. I survived. So they took me to Abin Nafees Hospital and that hospital referred me to another hospital which is called Medical City Hospital. I suffered many injuries of both arms, my back, my head. The Medical City Hospital wanted to amputate my arm but I refused. The hospitals are biased. If you're not affiliated with certain parties then you're not treated very well. They removed the joint of my elbow. When I went to a private hospital for more treatment, they diagnosed me and did not agree with the treatment option of the first hospital. To get more treatment to get back the use of my arm my family and I sold a lot of our belongings to be able to afford the treatments. They put in a platinum stabilizer in my arm to try to regain some of the use. The doctor who had done it promised that it would get better with this treatment but it did not. So I sought more treatment at another hospital and through x-rays they found they had removed certain parts of the arm including the elbow. So I tried to find ways to get treatment and contacted many charity organizations and finally came across this one. [Hosts for Hospitals] I am very thankful and hopeful that they would be able to help me. I am thankful to the family I'm living with now. They are treating me like family. God willing I'll be able to get the help that I need. The youth of Iraq should not suffer like this. I tried to get prosthetic elbow joints and couldn't find it in Iraq. It doesn't exist in Iraq. In my home there ís no money left. There ís no money for food. God willing I'll get help. My father ís very sick. I'm trying to contact him now. I'm very thankful for the charity the U.S. has provided. I can say no more. I want nothing but the use of my arm back. They treat you by the name you were born with because the name you were born with shows if you are Sunni or Shia. I thank all that are helping me, that are standing with me and I thank you for listening to my story." "Mohammed", being hosted by Chestnut Hill area families. Translated from the Arabic by Hala and Raid Aljumaily. Video interview may be made available at future time.
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CAR? A. “It’s a Smartcar. It’s a collaboration between Swatch, the watch people, and Mercedes Benz. I saw them in Europe about six years ago and fell in love with them. I thought I’d never be able to get it here and then I saw on the Internet in Bozeman Montana at the EcoAuto. They were importing them so I had it shipped here from Bozeman Montana…It’s so funny. Everybody gives me a high sign or a wave.” Eileen Longacre of Radnor on Germantown Avenue.
WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS TALE? The story is called the widow and the fishes. It’s a very old folktale from the island of Java It’s a typical, classical, Javanese folk tale where the good guys win strictly because they are kind and compassionate and the bad guys lose because they can never understand that. I love the fact that even when they win, what they win is the opportunity to be even kinder and more compassionate. Ya know they don’t get to go to Disneyland… Carolyn Koerber, Puppeteer, State College “First Night” performance.