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Laughing Like Old Friends – The story of Isette Haroni and Esther Gavliker
When Tami Neeman, the coordinator for the Ten Kavod program in Yavne, reached out to her friend Isette Hadoni, 48, who works in a kindergarten, to suggest she participate in the program, Isette hesitated a bit. “I didn’t know if it would be too much of a commitment for me to take upon myself, but I eventually decided that it would be a good idea, both for me and the person I visit,” she explains. “Senior citizens, because of their experience, always have an interesting perspective on life that you can learn a lot from.”
Isette used to visit another woman, who unfortunately passed away after one year. For the past few years, she has been visiting Esther Gavliker. Esther was born in Yavne in 1944 to a family of Moroccan olim (immigrants) and worked in different fields throughout her life, such as agriculture, the restaurant industry, and childcare. She does not have children or living relatives.
A nurse regularly visits her, so when Isette visits, they spend the entire time chatting, without the need for a medical check-up. “I live alone since my husband passed away and it’s often hard for me to find something to entertain myself,” Esther explains. “When Izette comes, we have a good laugh. It’s a real breath of fresh air for me.”
”She is a very friendly, lively, and funny woman,” Izette says about Esther. “We laugh a lot during our meetings because of her sarcastic humor.”
“One of the things we like talking about is our common passion for cats,” says Esther. “I have two cats that Izette loves as if they were hers.”
Even during the peaks of the Covid-19 pandemic, they made sure to continue meeting in person. “Esther wasn’t afraid as long as we took the necessary precautions with distance and masks and that no one had been in contact with someone positive for Covid-19 recently. The meetings were even more important for both of us because they were one of our only human interactions.”
Izette says that “although Esther needs a walker to get around, she is quite an independent woman. I always offer my help with house chores but she usually manages on her own. Our meetings are more about spending quality time like old friends together, than about me helping her.”
Esther concluded, saying: “Izette doesn’t just do the minimum that the program requires, she truly cares about me. Together with my late husband’s nephew, who is like a son to me, Izette is one of the most present persons in my life. I am really thankful for her.”
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