If you see Dr. Eckart and Irmgard Buchholz for the first time, you might conclude that they are tourists visiting Egypt. But after a short conversation, it becomes clear that there is more. Since 1999, the eye doctor and his wife, a nurse, visit SEKEM regularly to treat patients with eye problems in SEKEMs Medical Center. The couple’s motivation is pretty clear: “We are here to help the people”.
When Dr. med. Eckart Buchholz gave up his doctor’s office in Germany, he donated a large part of the equipment and devices to SEKEM. “We could not hand over the medical office to a younger colleague, because at this time the number of doctors in Germany was decreasing”, Buchholz remembers. Since then, they are visiting SEKEM once or twice a year and treat more than 100 patients during each stay. This includes people from the surrounding villages as well as pupils from SEKEMs School or Children with Special Needs.
During the first years with SEKEM, the biggest challenge was the language – the communication with the patients on one hand, but also the management and physicians of the Medical Center, to record the medical treatments. Another challenge is the treatment of illiterates, as it is difficult to determine their ability of seeing, if they are not able to read letters and numbers.
Dr. Eckart and Irmgard Buchholz are supporting SEKEM with their volunteer work and donations for more than 15 years now. Unfortunately, the 83-years-old doctor couldn’t manage to find someone in Germany, who wants to carry on his specific and frequent support in SEKEM. But, “a lot of Egyptian doctors are also very well qualified”, says Buchholz. To the question, how long he wants to continue his work in SEKEM, he responds with a smile: “As long as I am able, InshaAllah”.