American students visit Gaza

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Salamz all,

Last Thursday and Friday, I had two amazing days. To me, it was the 1st time I met non-Palestinian students as the same age as me. The group of about 40 students came to Gaza from Cairo to show solidarity with the people of Gaza. They were all Americans expect one girl was Canadian.
As I go to Sharek English unit (a society to activate the youths’ role in the community.), our group there was invited to meet these students.

On Thursday, we met them at Al Baidar “resort” on the seaside. We arrived there at 4 pm. When we got there, I saw no one. So, I was like maybe they are not here,yet. Then, when I went out of the hall to the beach. Many of them were enjoying the pristine, polluted sea of Gaza. Seriously, the sea was very tempting!!
Anyhow, after both Palestinians and Americans had enjoyed some sun & sea, we went inside to get to know each others. We sat in groups. At the beginning, it was difficult for me to start a conversation. Funny thing, the Gazans were sitting together, and our counterparts were on the other side of the table. So, I thought, bloody hell, we ain’t talking! we ain’t doing anything!
I suggested that we blend, and we did.

First, me and two of colleagues sat with a boy and a girl. They were really nice! And again at the beginning, I didn’t know how to break the ice. But since it’s Gaza! there’s always something to talk about! 1st question, How do you find Gaza?! lol Most of the answers that I got were: I loved Gaza and its people! they are so friendly.

To be honest, I was really happy to hear that! Then, we were lectured about the situation by Al-Ahzar’s Mukhemir Abu Sa’da and the head of “Al-Dameer” society. It was educating.
Then, there was a coffe break. It was another chance to talk to other people.
After that, there was a game but I went out. There were students too. I can tell you, I had one of the coolest discussions ever with 3 nice students (Ashley, Madeline, Nathaniel and my mate Ali). We talked about many things; and I did A LOT of the talking 😀
Then, we had a nice Palestinian traditional dish called “Qedra”. Personally, I don’t eat it, but it was a nice thing to them enjoying it. 😀 hehe
Day one, came to its end; I took some e-mails to stay in contact. I was not sure that on Friday, I would join them or not. So, I just said goodbyes! My brother Sharif was with me as he works with another youth association to cover the activities.

On Thursday, I had really good time, and I enjoyed the company of new people. It’s an experience I have always wanted to have. I do have many friends from all over the world, but I never saw them in person. So, it was a great pleasure!!

On Friday, I woke up really early so did Sharif. He was like get ready, you’ll join us today, too!
I felt like YAY! I got ready, we moved on 6:30 am!!!
We went the port of Gaza; there fishermen talked about how the siege is affecting them severely.
We went on a sea cruise on a fishing boat, and it was soooooo SICK! (I mean so cool, but I am being cool :D) You can check the video below.
Then, we went to a seaside coffee shop and had breakfast there. It was quick!

The next stop, was Gaza’s most controvertial place the tunnels. The tunnels are located on the borders of Egypt. It’s a life line for Gazans as they are mainly used to smuggle goods, fuels and supplies that no longer enter from the crossings with Isreal because of the siege. We were not allowed to take pictures ; it was a very quick visit. We saw one tunnel only, but this is for our safety and also the smugglers’. It’s not a safe area there.

Ok, then, we went to The Marna house a hotel/resturant. There was a senimar about the economic situation in Gaza. To be honest, my bro, his friends and me went down to set at the resturant,however; we were not the only one.
We had a nice, smokey conversation with two students; I said smokey, beauce ALL Of them were smoking Arguilla except me, OF COURSE!!

Afterwards, we headed to the UNRWA’s headquarters to meet John Ging, the head of the UNRWA.
There had been an interesting discussion about the situation and the future of Gazans and Gaza under siege. After the meeting had finished, it was time to say goodbye, for real this time! I admit before leaving, we had a funny discussion about food 😀 (Pizza was invited in new york!) 😀 😀
I said goodbye to the people, I consider them new friends. And I deeply wish to meet them again!
Seriously, I have this thing, really not good thing. I get attach to new friends a lot. I mean, I only spent two days with them but I was like MAN! I want to see them again! Sadly, on Saturday and Sunday I had university, so I didn’t join them. Tomorrow , they are leaving Gaza.

ok, that’s the longest post in the history of my blog!!!!!
Even I didn’t get to know all of them; it was plain to see that they were happy to be here. And, now I am sure many of them will tell what they saw and experienced in Gaza to their family and friends, and if one was able to change somebody else’s perspective about the situation here in Gaza that would be remarkable!!

One last thing, This experience opened my eyes to their experiences which left me really frustrated. Really! I really would like to have the life of freedom. Travel, see the world and know more! move around freely and even to have the chance to choose what to study and where to.

As I live in Gaza, all this is not materialized at all. I mean, I am happy that they have these chances, but it makes me sad to know that I just can not have such things, because simply I am from Gaza and I am not free. Even, I believe i do have the same qualifications, ambitions and will. So, this has been suffocating me, but i’ll live 🙂

Time for the sea cruise! Yea!

The way back from Rafah, green areas I didn’t know about. I was listening to this song! One of my all time fav songs EVER!

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4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Palestine: American Students Visit Gaza

  2. و الله انا سعيدة لاجلك واتمنى ان يسمع منك الله ما قلته في الاخير وتتحرر فلسطين باذنه تعالى ونلتقي جميعافي تلك الارض الطاهرة ونزور القدس اولى القبلتين وثالث الحرمين فلطالما كانت هذه امنيتي. وشكرا

  3. Salam, I am an American Muslim. I live in California of United States. I was so happy to find your blog. Also, I was happy to hear that American students are visiting in Gaza. I know that it is a great experience for them. We only hear the news, and get very little accurate information about the Palestinian people and the culture of Palestine. Thank you for posting your videos… I hope to see more!!!

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