Letters from Gaza (17) ...Migrations Within the Camp

31 December 2008

Temporary shelter in an UNRWA school

Words stand helpless in front of the continuous sufferings of the Gazan people, a continuous journey of migration, but this time the migrations are between and within the camps of Gaza.

My children and I were very frightened by the sound of the airplanes and the bombings, so we decided to stay a few nights with my husband‘s family. We took the children and some blankets and joined the family. The funny thing is that as we were leaving our building, we saw another family heading towards the building, with their pale faces and scared lost looks.  They were holding their blankets, seeking a residence with relatives there. A caustic situation.

It is yet another migration, but this time with no hideaway. We are targeted in an evil, malicious way.  I was preparing a small bag to take with me and my kids started to bring what is so precious to them: Salma brought shoes that she adores very much, Ahmed brought his small PlayStation, and Mustafa brought his stuffed dog - things that sound small but mean a lot to them.  I felt very bad as I knew that we might not return to this house. There are many more things that my children love and adore, things they want to keep, but I cannot take everything with me.

The children‘s grandfather house is not very big. It is only 70 square meters. You can barely find a place to sit comfortably without having somebody walk over you. When we went there, we found my husband‘s sister with her four children seeking a safe place, too, after she fled from her house in al Bureij Camp.  She had heard that a mosque nearby her house is a target. So it ended up that 9 adults and 12 children seek refuge in only 70 square meters. Imagine that.

My husband convinced me to stay home tonight and not to take our four children out in this rainy weather in order to go to his family’s house where we slept the two previous nights. Our children feel more secure at their grandparents’ home.

We finally have electricity, and I am trying to write before another hit occurred, though the weather is very windy, and rainy I can still hear the sound of the Israeli planes which make me very tense and scared.

Being a refugee is not a good thing. There is not much to enjoy, life isn’t easy. In a way, life and death are the same for us, but as a human being and a mother, I do still have things to enjoy. I want to raise our children, watch them grow and live their own lives. This feeling is shared by many parents in Gaza. I still want to get old, see my kids marry and have their children. I want them to bring their children and stay with me, and I want them to call me granny.

Oh, Salma, my sweet Salma.  I still want to give her all the advice she needs. I want to see her as a woman and hand her to the man she chooses to be her husband, and I want to live a normal life.

My five month-old son, Mohammed, started to giggle his funny giggle and smile his funny smile. I still want to hear  him say mommy. Please, give me the chance to do so!

Najwa Sheikh Ahmed

Gaza, New Year’s Eve 2008

Najwa Sheikh Ahmed is a Palestine refugee, who lives in Nuseirat camp with her husband and three children. These are her personal stories.e are her personal stories.

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