My week starts with a meeting with Maha, the Nazareth Village director. Maha has been working in the Village since the very start, 25 years ago. The Village is an open-air museum set on the grounds of the Nazareth Hospital. It features houses, terraced fields, wine, and olive presses, all built to recreate a 1st-Century Galilean village. Ever since it opened its doors in 2000, we have welcomed over 1 million visitors worldwide! Unfortunately, the Village had to close in March 2020 but reopened in January 2022 with tourism resuming. In our meeting, Maha and I made sure that all the preparations were in place for the return of tourists. We also discussed the next steps for the brand new visitor centre, called the Discovery Center. We have just received the building permit and are finalising the plans
so that building works can begin later in the year. The new facility will vastly improve the visitor experience at the Village and feature a 3D theatre, gift shop, and café. Over the past few years, we have raised over $6m and continue to receive donations that will make the Discovery Center a reality.
This morning I met with Christine, the SERVE Nazareth director. SERVE is our Christian volunteering programme, which sadly had to close its doors temporarily in March 2020. We have been overwhelmed with CVs from prospective volunteers across the globe during these past two years. Now that international travel is possible again, Christine and I will start planning the reopening of SERVE, shortlisting and interviewing the candidates, and allocating them to the project that best suits their experience and interests. We can’t wait to receive volunteers again and accompany them in such a life-changing experience. Last but not least, we will also discuss the final tasks needed on the refurbishment of the Doctors House, our volunteers’ accommodation, which will be completed in the summer.
In the afternoon, it’s time to get spruced up and get ready for some filming! As we approach the Trust’s 160th-Anniversary celebrations, we are producing some new videos that will help us tell our story: who we are as an organisation, what we have achieved so far, and our plans for the future. I can’t wait to see the result!
Today starts with an international Zoom call to plan the Nazareth Challenge 2022 fundraising event. The UK and Israel teams join forces to ensure the event runs smoothly. They share updates on the work they have been doing and distribute additional tasks. It’s great to see both teams working together, regardless of the km between them! After being postponed two times in a row due to Covid, the popular annual cycle and hike fundraiser will be held on the 23rd – 29th of October in Israel. The fundraising event, which first began in 2010, enrols around 50 fitness enthusiasts each year to participate in a sponsored five-day walking or cycling adventure exploring the Holy Land. The previous year’s fundraising raised donations towards the Trust’s Nazareth Hospital EMMS and supported vital projects such as creating the Hospital’s first Stroke Department and refurbishing the Hospital’s Paediatric Ward. This year’s event will fundraise towards expanding the Pastoral Care Team. I’m a huge fan of cycling myself, and I’ve had the privilege to host the bike ride every year. This afternoon, I will meet with a local tour guide to discuss this year’s challenge route.
This morning I met with the Hospital events committee. We continued to plan for the conference and gala dinner that we will host at the Hospital on the 22nd of October to celebrate 160 years of providing medical care to the community of Nazareth.
In the afternoon, I met with the Hospital management team to discuss the plans for expanding the Hospital’s ER Department – a project that the Israeli Ministry of Health
has already approved in principle. We plan to increase the number of stations from 21 to 70, with additional improvements to emergency vehicle access. This project will help us reduce patients’ transfers to other hospitals outside of Nazareth, offer a culturally sensitive service to patients and families near their homes, and improve our Hospital’s readiness to cope with future medical emergencies. We will need substantial funds to realise this vision and, therefore, considerable discussion on who could potentially help us financially.
First thing this morning, I jumped on a quick video call with the Edinburgh team and the Chairman of the Board to continue planning our 160th-Anniversary event that will take place at the Scottish Parliament in June. We have been sending out invitations, tracking their responses, and working alongside the Parliament events team to discuss all the event logistics. We feel so lucky to be able to celebrate our 160th Anniversary in the city where our story began!
Later, I met with Dr Salam, the Nazareth Academic School of Nursing director. These are exciting times at the School of Nursing. We are about to embark on a significant capital development of the SON building, with two new floors and a fully equipped simulation room. This development is urgently needed as our courses are in huge demand, and a new partnership with a major Israeli university to provide BA nursing degrees is near agreement. So lots of things to discuss.