People I’ve met in Gaza

I’ve been in Gaza for a month now and nearly everyone I’ve met has asked me: “How do you find Gaza?”

My response goes something like: “The environment is very difficult.  The people are very friendly and kind.”

I’ve met . . .

  • university students, professors and administrators
  • taxi drivers
  • elected local government officials
  • teachers and their young preschool students
  • a young pediatrician, wife and children
  • a man who has tended a British cemetery for 24 years
  • mothers of all ages
  • an artist and musician
  • a young man whose leg was amputated 9 years ago after Israeli shelling collapsed his building
  • a psychologist who was selected for an international award but not allowed by Israel to travel abroad to accept the honor
  • grandparents who work in the market to support their family members, many of whom are unemployed because of the siege
  • a handyman who cares for the apartment building and all of its residents
  • fishermen and farmers
  • engineers
  • construction men and young boys scavenging for recyclables
  • a policeman
  • young intellectuals and activists who are very media savvy
  • journalists
  • wife of a Judge (hope I get to meet the Judge when he returns to Gaza)
  • lawyer who works for the Ministry of Justice
  • children, children and more children

Every Palestinian I’ve met — whether formally or just a chance encounter — has welcomed me to Gaza, expressed interest in me and my visit to Gaza, and wished me well.  If circumstances allowed, they offered me tea.

Like the maintenance worker at the university today who saw me sitting in a chair in the hall waiting for class to begin.  He asked me if I wanted tea or maybe something cold to drink while I waited.  🙂

Living under occupation is difficult.  Living with warm and generous people is a remarkable gift.  I’m so thankful I made it to Gaza.

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9 Comments

Filed under Gaza, Occupation, People

9 responses to “People I’ve met in Gaza

  1. Sarah Ahmed

    Dear Lora, i really enjoy reading your posts about Gaza ❤ i hope i would visit Gaza one day 🙂 send my best regards to the pretty people you meet there 🙂 stay safe madam 🙂

  2. Motasem

    You are very welcome.

  3. I felt similarly about living in Egypt — life was very challenging and it was difficult to pin down why I found it so compelling. And the people were just wonderful to me. Islamaphobia has caused so many Americans to think of “Arabs” as either sheiks or terrorists, when, in fact, I found nearly everyone was extraordinarily hospitable and concerned for my welfare.

    Cairo is such a populous city — but, in those times it felt more like a collection of villages. My British girlfriend had a daughter who was about 2 when she and her husband decided to open a small shop in the cellar of their building..her daughter would play on the stairs going down to the shop and on the sidewalk of a very busy street. I asked her, “aren’t you worried about her getting hit by a car?” She said, “Everyone on the street watches out for ALL the children.” Basically I found that to hold true.

    And yes, the women are camera shy, and the women and the military in Egypt are difficult to capture on film. I remember once traveling by car from one village to another about 10 kilometers outside Cairo. Saw a woman striding between the villages carrying a wringer washing machine on her head. She was one happy camper! Course, I also saw a rocket being pulled back to it’s silo after the Oct 6th parade, being pulled by a pair of donkeys. Never got either shot on film, so they haunt my mind:)

    Hugs Lora! Keep on keeping on!

  4. Rita

    Great photos, Lora. It sounds like you are having an awesome experience. It struck me that there are no women in your photos. Is there are reason other than chance?

    • Women in this culture do not post their pictures on the internet …. Facebook or blogs …. but I have many pictures for my personal memories. 🙂

      • Motasem

        ^_^. Understanding Others .

      • sue

        more reason lora to frequently paint word pictures about the women and girls you are meeting during your stay in Gaza 🙂

        i’m always bothered by photo captions from the middle east that say “the people of -insert country here- in the street protesting a, b or c” yet all the people are men….without noting that women are not present in the photo.

  5. Ghazza

    we are so thankfull you made it to Gaza…welcome again & again & again 🙂

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