JVC’s local staff in Jerusalem visited Gaza (Part 2)

[Original published in note.com by Masaya SAIKI, Intern for the Palestine project (March 7, 2022); Translated by Y. Miki/F. Farina]

Ms. Ayat, one of our local staff in Jerusalem, visited Gaza. Here is the report on the second day of her visit following part 1.

Participants were eager to learn. They were still very interested in each other during breaks.

Today, I visited a community center in the Al Brij refugee camp to monitor the workshop for the local health voluntary advisers. Once I arrived at the venue, women from the northern and central Gaza were already actively sharing their experiences. Those ladies who attended the workshop were very enthusiastic, committed, and strong with sensitivity like a hammer.

Behind their smiles and laughter, they live one day at a time without forgetting the tragic moments of their lives. They only think about living in the present and not about a future that they may not be entitled to or not so bright. It is unwise to plan for their future in Gaza, the unknown is scary, and “now” is the most precious for them.

Some of the participants had never met each other before. So, as an icebreaker to get to know each other, they gave presentations on “their favorite quotes and proverbs” and “what they value in life.” It was interesting to learn about each person’s personality by that.

Participants were lively from beginning to end. Although those from the northern and central parts of Gaza met for the first time, they were already like a family.

After the workshop, we headed to the old town of Gaza. There were many old buildings there. The staff of our partner organization took us to Bait Sitty (meaning “Grandma’s House”), a lovely café-restaurant with lots of red lights, a long staircase inside, and traditional chairs. The shape of the building looked similar to the houses in the old city of Jerusalem.

Bait Sitty restaurant’s sign

Inside the Bait Sitty restaurant. It looked very pretty but was very cold.

Tasty coffee and pastry that I ordered at the Bait Sitty restaurant.

After that, we stopped at a pastry shop called Saq Allah. They were so happy to see us coming from their beloved Jerusalem, and they were so generous that they even tried not to let us pay.

A pastry shop in the old town. They let us try many of them and even gave us some souvenirs. They don’t see many foreigners thus they were very kind to us. The old town was full of hospitality (reported by Yamamura).

A market in the old town

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