As time flies by, summer finds itself in Gaza again.Another season is here, and almost nothing has changed, but the people of Gaza try to make the best of it with the very little they have and can afford.
Fun is not guaranteed. Gaza has very limited recreational facilities: the sea, a few cafes along the beach, and one street with a “shopping” district.While the weather gets unbearably hot, electricity shortages last almost 9 hours a day. Having a good time in the coastal enclave has never been about the place, it is always about the company. World Cup fever has brought temporary enjoyment most Gazans as they pack the cafésduring each match.
The news of easing the siege imposed on Gaza virtually has no effect on the daily lives of Gazans or their summer plans. The vast majority does not see the break as an opportunity to travel outside of Gaza. Rafah border may be opened to those who are permitted, but the costs of getting to Egypt—or any other place beyond that—remain above what an ordinary Gazan can afford. Though the border is currently open, the restrictions crossing it still remain the same. Getting visas to any country is extremely difficult. Yet, one can see the glass half-full. Many Palestinian families are now able join their beloved ones in the Strip.
Vacation is just underway for schools and most universities in Gaza. But for many, that only means hotter weather. Making plans on how to spend the break are rarely made, and when they are made, they rarely work out.
When my friends and I talk about our summer plans, the conversations usually do not go far past the thought of not having to be at the university. As the summer break is almost three months long, boredom leaks down to most of us. Many students simply make use of their free time to take other courses like learning English, for example.
Last year I had one of the worst summer breaks ever. The power shortages were as bad as ever hindering my humble plans to read online books, take online Spanish courses, and watch Aljazeera English online for news. On top of that, I took summer school courses, which was a total fiasco.
This year, I am cautiously excited about my plans. I am scheduled for a trip to the United States, but I am trying to remain defiant to excessive excitement and planning. The situation in Gaza can go wrong in a blink of an eye, so it is better not to build expectations, until I am in the skies above LA. I pray that it will all work out, and this summer will be better than the last.
This summer is probably going to end without major changes leaving Gazans to feel the same about the summer 2011. But, the same spirit of “make the best of it” will always be a part of Gaza not matter what the season is.
Edited by Ehab Z