East London Mosque
Monday 21st May 2018
In preparation for this event David Collier, Rebecca James and patient Mike discussed the possibility of going out into the community and paying a visit to the East London Mosque in Whitechapel.
Mike liaised with the Imam and a visit was made to view the rooms being made available to us and to agree a timetable for the visit. Becky gathered and prepared the promotional material to be used on the day.
In the morning I attended William Harvey CRC and was briefed on the material being used. We then caught a quick sandwich whilst finishing our preparations and as time was getting short, we caught taxis to the Mosque.
We arrived as a delegation consisting of six professionals — David, Sonny, Jane, Becky, Yasmin and Horeja and two patient volunteers, Mike and myself. Upon arrival we were greeted cordially and shown to the large room and female section which had been set aside for us. In the large room we were provided with three tables and chairs which was absolutely fine for our purposes and I understand that the female room was provided similarly.
After setting up our stations it was initially quiet, as was expected, but we managed to attract a couple of people to have their blood pressure taken while we waited for prayers to finish and the Imam to announce our presence.
Once he had, we were absolutely inundated with people who wanted their blood pressure taken and all Mike and I had to do was to utter supportive words as to how right and long-sighted they were and how important it was to keep an eye on their blood pressure, even from a young age. It was a very pleasant change from grabbing someone in from the street so to speak!
I must say that I was in admiration of the team as I saw them professionally working their way calmly through the long queues and I believe that this was the same in the female section of the mosque. This was confirmed by the mosque manager/assistant when he reported on how well we were doing in the male section and also in the female section and asked if everything was alright. They performed their jobs with well practised ease and good humour which I saw was appreciated by all their patients who expressed their gratitude for our visit and what the team were doing.
I am not very good at estimating numbers but I believe that the team dealt with over 150 people during the course of the afternoon.
It was unfortunate that a lot of people had to wait a fair while to have their blood pressure taken but the team could not work any faster and this could not be avoided. As patients we wound our way along and through the queues apologising for the delay and we found that everyone was in good spirits and very understanding and forgiving. Indeed, they kept saying how grateful they that we were all there helping them.
Whilst moving along the queues I took the opportunity to talk briefly about William Harvey, our AIM-HY study, diabetes and our Let’s Talk Hearts series of talks and inviting them to our next heart talk on 8th October at Bow. I also handed out leaflets including AIM HY , booklets, diabetic cookbook recipes booklets and posters. Many were very pleased to be given the diabetic leaflet printed in Bengali that Jane Batchelor had provided for us.
My overwhelming feeling about this event was one of success, pleasure and tiredness. The people in the mosque helping to run it were so very helpful and friendly and the patients were similarly friendly, responsive and even grateful that we were doing this for them.
The team had a tired glow of satisfaction at a job well done with such a crowd of such nice people.
Well done also to the Mosque and its management team and all the lovely people who pray there.