BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Ismail Abuhussein of Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) has been conducting training sessions for individual augmentees deploying to the Middle East.
"Having grown up and lived in the Middle East, I have an obligation to dispel rumors about the region," said Abuhussein. "There are many cultural aspects that sharing information about can simply make them more approachable and understandable. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a prime example that an Arabic society can be just as modern and diverse in places as in Western societies."
Abuhussein has presented introductory cultural and language training several times to other staff members who have received individual augmentee orders to the Middle East. He has covered basic linguistic phrases and historical background, explained common courtesies, expounded on culinary differences and perhaps most importantly, taken the time to explain cultural 'dos and taboos' commonplace in a predominantly Middle Eastern Arab country.
"For example, I went over very common Arabic [language] that could and would be used on a daily basis, such as basic phrases and greetings," Abuhussein said. "Just knowing how to meet and greet someone can make a world of difference and help to defuse any potential tension."
Abuhussein has followed a circuitous route to his current command that has taken him from being born in Bethlehem, to raised in Dubai, UAE, to a soccer scholarship at a small school in Rockford, Ill., where he found out about the U.S. Navy. "I got interested and joined because there is a lot of opportunity here," he explained. "Having schooling paid for is a huge plus. Education is so important and very doable while on active duty."
For Abuhussein, his schooling is part of an overall scholastic goal that is advancing in planned stages. To apply for a Health Services Provider Scholarship, he must first qualify with having completed the necessary undergraduate classes. He is well on his way. He has accumulated 70 credits with top marks across the board and a few classes remaining. The scholarship he is aiming for will take him into his chosen field.
"Dentistry is my calling and I'm at a command that has given me the chance to do my best," said Abuhussein.
But that opportunity was not initially welcomed by his family. It took determination and dedication to convince them that his career goals were achievable in the Navy. "My family was against me joining [the Navy]. They thought such a move was too risky. But now they are very supportive. I wanted to be independent, organized and accomplish on my own. They are impressed by the amount of educational advances I have already achieved in less than three years in the Navy. They are very proud. They didn't think I could do such things in the Navy."
Abuhussein has been recognized as Naval Hospital Bremerton's Sailor of the Year for his work at Naval Branch Health Clinic Bangor Dental Services. He has accumulated straight A's in a slew of college courses and arranged field trips to Children's Hospital in Seattle.
Abuhussein hopes that some day his Navy experience and education will enable him to return to his roots to help those less fortunate. Despite being a major tourism destination for three of the world's major religions, Bethlehem has its share of poverty stricken pockets. "Health care there is very minimal. There are lots of local remedies that are used instead of updated medical and dental services that we have here," he said. "I have always wanted to do something to help, such as volunteer work and humanitarian assistance with dental hygiene skills to provide dental care to those who don't have any or have never been seen by a dentist."
Abuhussein also has a passion for soccer. "We would play anywhere as children. All we needed was a ball. We could start a game in an alleyway or an open field. What makes soccer so popular is that it is so simple. There just isn't a lot of equipment that's needed."
Abuhussein is currently helping NHB's team prepare for the upcoming season. There are non-stop 90 minutes practice sessions, along with conditioning runs several times a week, as well as ball handling and dribbling drills. Talking about soccer has Abuhussein animated and energetic, just as explaining his education has him focused and earnest. The common objective is the same for both topics...goal!
For more news from Naval Hospital Bremerton, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhb/.