Adele Raemer
Life on the Border with the Gaza Strip
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10 facts about medical clowning I know to be true

Things don't always go the way we hope they will but a chance to make sick kids laugh is an excellent fallback option

Have you ever found yourself alone for the holiday? I did. Last night. But thanks to my training as a medical clown, I was able to take the lemons and make the most delish lemonade!

I figured: there are people who go donate their time in soup kitchens on holidays to help feed the homeless, why not spend the time where people REALLY need to be cheered up, and do something that reminds me of how blessed I, myself, really am! Would I have preferred to be with family and loved ones? You bet! But things don’t always go the way we want or hope they will. Luckily, I always have a Plan B: Medical Clowning.

Here are 10 facts that I have learned to be true about Medical Clowning:

1. Laughter heals.

2. We all have a clown inside us. We just need to find her/him.

3. There are actually rules and techniques to Medical Clowning, that have to be learned.

4. Medical Clowning training was the BEST form of rehabilitative therapy for ME, after my suicide survival.

5. Following quality time with my loved ones, Medical Clowning ranks as my best go-to activity for lifting my own spirits.

6. Medical Clowning is LOVE.

7. When you put on the red nose, you gain a superpower. This superpower enables you to say “Hi” to strangers, wear funky get-ups and outrageous makeup without being hauled away in a straightjacket to the Funny Farm.

8. Coulrophobia is real. (Some of my best friends, in fact, have a fear of clowns.) So be aware, and gentle, and always ask permission before entering a hospital room.

9. Medical clowning means that you love people enough to do the things in #7, so that they can laugh at you (or with you), because: see #1.

10. Nothing sounds better than hearing a child in a hospital laugh, followed by her parent’s voice saying: “Thank you, she hasn’t even smiled all day, let alone: laughed.”

Volunteering – of any sort – is wonderful, and not totally altruistic. It’s called Karma. You get lots more back, than you give. So take this New Year as an opportunity to find a fitting framework in which you can help others who are less fortunate (even temporarily less fortunate) than you. Seek out occasions when you can do acts of random kindness for people you know, or people you don’t know; for strangers who don’t know your name, whom you have never met before and may never see again. And if there is any way you possibly can, find a way to make people laugh.

P.S. I would like to express my gratitude to “Simchat Halev Medical Clowning School” and Prof. Chimichurri (aka: Alex Gruber) the best clown trainer in da world

About the Author
Born in the USA, Adele has lived in a Kibbutz on the border with the Gaza Strip since 1975. She is a mother and a grandmother living and raising her family on the usually paradisaical, sometimes hellishly volatile border. She moderates a FB group named "Life on the Border". Adele recently retired after 38 years as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, as well as a teacher trainer and counselor for the Israeli MoE for EFL and a Tech Integration Coach. She blogs here about both Life on the Border, as well as about digital pedagogy, in "Digitally yours, @dele". She is a YouTuber, mostly on the topic of digital stuff. ( Her personal channel covers other issues close to her heart (medical clowning, Life on the Border, etc.) ( In addition, she is a trained medical clown and, although on COVID hiatus, until allowed back into hospitals, she clowns as often as she can in the pediatric ward in the hospital in Ashkelon. As a result of her activity as an advocate for her region, she was included among the Ha'aretz "Ten Jewish Faces who made Waves in 2018" In November 2018 she was invited to Geneva by an independent investigative committee for the UN to bear witness to the border situation, and in December 2019 addressed the UN Security Council at the request of the US ambassador to the UN.
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