Gaza in 5 hours
Myrla and David from Medical Team International were thankfully two of the few foreigners who were allowed in to visit us in Gaza. After their 5 day stay in the West Bank they arrived through the Erez crossing in Beit Hanoun, Gaza’s Northern border checkpoint. It’s the only civilian entry point other than through the Rafah border in Egypt, barring some very rare exceptions through the other Israeli crossings.
I started my 5 hour journey around Gaza with my special guests - nearly all guests who enter Gaza are special, they open a new window of love and solidarity, and a message so clear that you are not alone and you are not forgotten.
Our first stop was the Al Asria Medical Centre in Jabalya refugee camp before visiting the Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip. The guests were very impressed by the facility and our success to get the MRI FOTR Gaza. I was pleased and proud to hear their comments, it also empowered me to continue working hard to improve and promote our health facilities for the most needy of patients in Gaza.
Everyday carries a hard struggle to meet the different needs of people and not only their health needs.
The occupation and siege contributes to the deteriorating of the already dire health situation. Each day hundreds of patients referred for treatment cannot receive it due to the borders siege and their financial situation.
In one of the UNRWA schools at Shatia Refugee camp, the guests could feel and see the children’s happiness that they could now drink clean soft water. It was the result of a MECA project to install 25 water purification units in Gaza schools and kindergartens over the last 2 years
Dancing with Afaq children
In the south of Gaza the guests danced to Palestinian folklore with Afaq Jadeeda children, as part of the ‘Let the Children Play and Heal’ project, a psychological support project funded by MECA.
We finished the tour by meeting the Samouni children of the Zaytoun area, where we met Adie Mormech who was teaching them. Adie is an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions and has worked around Action Palestine and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Manchester in England.
The scene of Adie and the kids, in the English lesson, ‘Learning on the Rubble’, was so intimate and moving.
The children were happy learning and having fun too.
The situation in Gaza is not romantic, it is so unbearable especially for us who have to live one day after the other trying hard to remain steadfast and help the community to stay intact
Gaza the old city
Just before leaving Gaza we paid a visit to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius, the third oldest church in the world, built in the 5th century next to a mosque. The Archbishop who received us was so kind and very informative. We also visited the Omary mosque, not far away from the church, which was previously the Marnaas temple through history converted to a church and then to a mosque.
Gaza is history and civilization, the third largest city in Palestine - not only war, occupation and siege.
It has stood so proud against all the historic and environmental changes – even natural upheavals like earthquakes.
The odds have been against us.
It is my city I like despite all those odds.
Before he left, David said, ‘you deserve better life.’