Gaza diary, half 34: ‘I simply want to return to spending a day in mattress, studying’

Gaza diary, half 34: ‘I simply want to return to spending a day in mattress, studying’

I’ve by no means been a fan of the solar nor the sunny climate. I’m a lover of the rain, winter and tree leaves falling. I keep in mind at highschool – my English language trainer would all the time ask me and different college students in the course of the recess to face within the solar. “Hug the solar, really feel its heat. It is stuffed with vitamin D.” I did what she requested however by no means preferred it.

However, this trainer opened the door for me to study literature, which I liked. In school, we might learn summarised classics like Nice Expectations, Delight and Prejudice and A Story of Two Cities.

My good friend shares with me the outcomes of the Booker prize; evidently Prophet Tune received this 12 months. Primarily based on transient descriptions of the shortlisted books, I see myself extra concerned with studying The Bee Sting.

I simply want to return to spending a complete day in my mattress, whereas it’s raining exterior, and luxuriate in studying one guide after one other. One concern I had was dying earlier than studying sufficient of all the gorgeous and nice books on this world. Now, I’m petrified of dying earlier than even residing my life.

However throughout these instances, I couldn’t pray sufficient for the climate to be sunny. First, for many who reside in colleges and tents to not undergo, and to have the ability to cost our batteries and telephones utilizing the solar energy of our neighbours. Sadly, since yesterday, it has been raining closely. We had hail.

Very quickly, many of the streets round us had been lined by water as a result of poor infrastructure. Most individuals are nonetheless sporting flip-flops; footwear are a luxurious they can’t afford. I’ve seen many individuals sporting torn flip-flops. How can they transfer within the streets?

Many Palestinians need to shelter as greatest they will in makeshift tents as heavy rain floods the streets and alleys. {Photograph}: Anadolu/Getty

And what about meals? Normally, individuals eat extra to take care of the heat of their physique. However the reverse is going on. One good friend of mine, who’s common weight, instructed me that he has misplaced over 8kg to date. There may be little or no meals obtainable but they exert loads of effort attempting to safe fundamentals. He tells me: “ what we did to cut back our struggling? The entire household determined to begin fasting. This obligates all of us to not ask or marvel about meals all day lengthy. When the solar goes down, we have now our solely meal relying on what is on the market.”

Many households don’t have any entry to flour, so they can’t even have bread. A good friend, in one other space, tells me: “We haven’t had a bit of bread in 4 days. Now we have kids, which worsens our distress. Now we have some meals left, however it’s not sufficient. Grownup males are crying within the streets begging to purchase, not get, flour.”

Ahmad’s youthful brother comes into the room to say good morning. We talk about how unhappy we’re to have such chilly climate. He additionally discusses one other luxurious we now not have: scorching drinks at any time when we wished.

These days, with the shortage of cooking fuel, ingesting one thing scorching is an extended course of that begins with creating warmth by burning wooden or nylon, cartons and plastic. Additionally, you all the time have to examine now whether or not it’s a precedence to drink to take care of sources.

He shares with us the reminiscence of the final cappuccino he had: “It was scorching and scrumptious. I actually loved it and will really feel its style in my mouth until now. What irritates me essentially the most is that I keep in mind not finishing my cup as a result of I used to be in a rush. I drank half of it after which left not understanding it could be my final time to drink cappuccino. Now, two months later, I might drink it until the final drop.”

Ahmad has volunteered to assist the displaced kids within the colleges and different areas. He goes with a bunch of youths and performs video games with the youngsters and their mother and father; he tells them tales they usually sing collectively. He goes each morning at 8am and will get again at round 3. I requested him about how he feels about this.

He says the scenario is horrible. Each classroom has about 70 individuals, together with at the least 30 kids. He couldn’t comprehend how they had been in a position to divide the small room to incorporate 4 or 5 households. He says the playground is a camp itself. You can not put your foot in. The overwhelming scent of sewage is simply terrible.

“However the kids and their mother and father benefit from the actions. One factor we did was face portray. One woman wished a yellow canine; the opposite wished a butterfly; and a boy requested for the solar. Their mother and father are grateful that we’re creating some moments of happiness throughout these depressing instances.”

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At the end of our discussion, he recalls a young boy he met. “He told me that he misses his house in the north, and he wants to go back there to his happy life.” The boy’s mother told Ahmad that he does not know that his home was destroyed. Heartbreaking.

Two men talk under the light of a roadside stall as a
Vehicles light up the road as people pass a stall in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty

Even though those who left Gaza are in a much better place and they are safer, they are still facing many challenges. For instance, one friend of mine left Gaza with her family with almost no money. Now, they are borrowing money from friends living abroad and she told me that she is looking for a job. So they are safe, but need to survive on their own.

But the biggest misery is the fear for their loved ones and the feelings of guilt for leaving them behind. Another friend received the news of the death of her brother and other family members. She is devastated.

Lying on the couch covered with blankets trying to get warm, I think of one of the best book introductions that I’ve read. It was Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief. It was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of light. It was the season of darkness. It was the spring of hope. It was the winter of despair.”

Sitting in darkness, in Gaza’s winter of despair, I wonder how Gaza is going through the worst of times, and how accurate the description in Dickens’ introduction is of the world’s current state.

I pray for this nightmare to be over; I pray that our suffering and misery will end. But right now what I wish for the most is for the cold weather to disappear, and for the sun to come up, so Gazans can stand under it to warm their bodies, and their hearts and souls.

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