Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Visit in February 2018

Fr. Stanislav and I got a late start down due to car troubles, yet was able to visit one school and three very needy families the first day. The first school was that of the north, Al Arabia, which is near the frontier not far from where we enter. This school we helped recently by enlarging the kitchen and separating it from the children's bathrooms. We were pleased with the work. 

Yet we found that the roof of the children's bathrooms was penetrated with water. We took pictures of it. Sabah had shown it to our architect and he said that it needs to be removed and be replaced with one with a slant, so the water will run off. Fr. Stan was in agreement of this need and solution. We need to get an estimate of the cost.

Bro. Lorenzo had been down for a visit earlier in the months and he saw with Sabah the three homes which we also visited. The three families which we visited are in different stages of having their homes renewed. As we arrived at the first home the man to put in new windows and doors was present and was measuring the places for the windows and doors. Sabah discussed with him the project, our driver, who is an honest man has begun to help her to close good materials and to bargon for the prices with her. 

The second home had a kitchen built which had to be built outside the main building. It was built one meter smaller than we stipulated. Sabah was very upset with this and contacted the entrepreneur about it. This home will also get a cover over the area between the main building and the kitchen and the bathroom as a protection from the rain and cold. The entrance which is sand for flooring to the bathroom needs to be covered as well as cover a hole which is dangerous to all those coming and going.

The third home of 11 people has had the pipes put in for the bathroom and kitchen and the walls done. It looks great. They still need the sinks and toilets installed. The floor was not included in this renovation, yet we see that it is critical for the family as it is sand and cement which is crisscrossed with of pipes running to the kitchen and to the bathroom. It will cost an added 1,000 shekels which we must find.

The two schools which we visited the second day were in the Middle Camps south of Gaza City. Hannan's School is the one we had hoped could have a second floor added to be able to include more children. Sabah had the entrepreneur study it and he said that the building is too old to add a floor. He suggested that they add a class in front of the building in the play yard. We had provided last year the flooring for it, so it only needs one full wall, one half wall and two doors and two windows to create a nice classroom. We must find the funding for this added room as the children are very crowed in their present classrooms. Old tables can have new Formica tops put on them for this room as their metal legs are still in good condition.

Visiting these homes put us in direct contact with families that had nothing, and we could see that they had very little food and were hungry. The Missionaries of Charity said that daily people were coming to them too for food. With the deterioration of the general situation there we must find money to feed the very needy again.  did write one organization for funding.

We had to leave early the second day as the price of gasoline went up causing the prices of taking taxis to rise. The taxis all protested this change by striking for two hours.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Visit January 2018

Fr. Juan and Sr. Susan’s visit Jan. 23 and 24

Sabah decided to have the children’s clothing which we had purchased for them from given in the four pre-schools when we visited. The money not used for food in January was used for these outfits. The children had semester break and so this money was left. Each child received matching shirt and pants or “training” as it is called here. We witnessed firsthand their joy at receiving these outfits.

Each day we visited two schools. We also saw the meals that they were being served and the letters and numbers that they were learning. In November Sabah gave us a list of the needs which each school presented to her. We saw that they were valid needs some children were without a chair, two children shared one little chair, some classrooms did not have enough tables. Others needed rugs for the corners where they played on the floor. None of the schools had electricity at the time we were there. Some classes were very dark. At the Missionaries of Charity, we discovered mats that can be washed easier than rugs so we will try using these mats letting one classroom try them. They are soft, washable and come in pieces.

One school has over 100 children in three classes and many other children are turned away. The children have no space. In this very poor rural area there is no other pre-school. Our dream is to find the financial resources about $15,000 to build a second floor to add classrooms. Hanan the director is a very capable administrator.

We visited three very poor families each of which had one to three mentally disabled children or young adults. Two of these families were living in a room or two without windows, doors, bathrooms and kitchens. You can see the pictures off their homes which tell the story. We had given each two blankets, yet they need much more.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas greetings

Christmas 2017
The Prince of Peace is soon to be celebrated among us! May He change hearts so that Peace can really come to these two million people! All of you have made sacrifices in one form or other to help us to continue our programs in Gaza. We are happy to have this happy occasion to thank you sincerely for your support as you partner with us to meet the needs of families we visit.
This is also an occasion to let you know what we’ve done which is a direct result of your generosity. The four schools have been serving meals six days a week to 400 children and starting in January 460 children as one of our four schools has opened more classes. School supplies and materials have also been provided. The Catholic parish have given us for tables and playground equipment. We are in the process of enlarging and renovating the kitchen of another school in the north and separating the children’s bathroom area from the kitchen with a wall and a separate entrance.
The families who have little money for food have no money to provide health care or medicines for their sick members. Monthly we have been able to continue to provide medicines for about 30 to 40 monthly and orthopedic shoes for several children monthly.
Housing is still precarious. Many people live in buildings which have been damaged in the 2014 war where window, doors and part of the buildings are open to the air. Since last Christmas we have been able to redo roofs, flooring, window, doors, kitchens and bathrooms for five families. All the families do not need all of these items just mentioned, but they need several of them. El Omri of Germany sponsored four of these homes and Italian friends of Lorenzo have funded the last one. These five families surely are much healthier due to proper housing these cold and sometimes rainy winter days.
I remind you to follow our web site to know what is happening monthly. Fr. Stan our new member of our team is keeping our website up to date. Pictures tell the story of our visits and the events there.
Know that each of you are very much part of our services offered to the very poor who are in the rural areas and in the very poor section of Gaza City. Your support means so much to us. May the Lord bless each of you in turn for this help.

We are wishing you each abundant joys and blessings these Christmas holidays. May 2018 be a year of health and again many blessings.

                                                                                                                            Bro, Lorenzo, Fr. Juan, Fr. Stan
                                                                                                                            and Sr. Susan

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Home renovations in November 2017

                                                                                                 November 2017

This month Sabah reported to us how one home which was badly damaged in the last war was renovated these last few months. We did it together with the Catholic NGO Mercy Corps. They renovated the kitchen, the bathroom, and painted the rooms. We completed what needed repairs by putting in new flooring. This family has nine members eight children, the parents and the grand-father. The grand-father is sick and blind. They are located in a very poor area of Gaza City called Zeitoun. Their home is one room plus a bathroom and a kitchen. The father works from time to time for 20 to 30 shekels a day or for ten dollars a day. He has a pulled a ligament and cannot work full time. The mother was in an auto accident and received a blow on her head and a broken arm. Since the renovation the family all have smiles. The pictures tell about the changes in their home.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Visit Octobre 2017

I went down in the rain and by the time I got near Gaza the weather cleared and was gorgeous. Sabah and Wassel met me and we began to visit a school at the north with the aim of seeing two schools by day and some poor families.
Al Arabia School was the first where we found the children busy with their number and colors. One set of children played with toys on the rug in each class. Two classes took turns going to the play yard where they sat at tables and each received a delicious apple. This is a real treat as none get any of this costly fruit at home. This school, hopefully this month, will be getting an enlarged Kitchen and the children’s bathroom area will be separated from the kitchen.
After we went to the Saygie area where we found again the children very busy studying. The classrooms were clean and orderly. This school needs boards put along the wall so the children’s work can be put up.
We visited two homes, one of 14 people which included three families. The second home was that of an elderly couple of whom both were suffering from orthopedic problems and neither could barely walk.
Following these visits, Sabah, Wassel and I studied our financial situation to see how we can manage to help some added very poor families who still need food and blankets etc.
I visited Grada who helps in the parish and found that her elderly parents are very weak. Her Father especially needs care most of the day and the night. She was exhausted.
The following day we went to the Middle Camps area where both schools are located. Again, the children were busy at work. This day both schools were serving large buns with chocolate and one school was serving a dish of hot sweet corn also to the children. Each school has some needs for more tables and chairs and such. The same morning Fr. Mario offered us two large round tables and some nice playground equipment and this will be given to one of the schools.
We had some banking to do and were invited to Fawyseh’s for a quick dinner before I left again for the boarder. It was a full two days.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Visit in July 2017


I went down alone on a very hot day. It was 40 degrees Celsius. Sabah met me at the border as usual. We had to do some banking first and was told to return the following day. We began by going to the office to discuss the coming school year. School materials would be given the teachers early in September as usual. Registration would begin at the beginning of September and actual classes would begin mid-September. An outing with all the schools we’d try to do on our next visit.

Politically things are changing as Moh'd Dahlan who is challenging Mamoud Abass's leadership has been visiting Arab nations for financial support. He has given Egypt five million dollars to create two boarder passages between Egypt and Gaza one for materials and one for people to pass complete with camera, computers and controls. This means that Egypt is ready to open the border for 24 hours for everyone.

Sabah hopes to go soon to Egypt as she hopes to take her vacation later this month. Her husband Nazem her daughter Ream and she have gotten the visa for Jordon to travel and await now the permission form Israel to leave via Eretz for a month. Only the medical program is going on in July and August due to few funds for the emergency relief program at present.

Not having seen Dr. Amina for months nor Jamil her husband, both of whom volunteer hours for us each month we decided to visit them. They are fine and have one daughter still at home with them. Both of their sons are abroad as are Sabah's.

The following day we went to the bank we visited two families living in terrible conditions. Both Sabah and I took some pictures of their buildings. The first family needs a bathroom and a simple kitchen and flooring, the second two families who live in the same building on two floors. They need new roofs and bathrooms and simple kitchens. I wrote Oliver and Maren to see if they are ready to send us the funds for the food program a bit early and asked if they could help with two more home renovations.

Fr. Stan is back and we have asked him to try to keep our website up to date.

My older sister is in the fourth degree of cancer which has attacked several organs of her body, so she won't live long. This was discovered only two weeks ago. Perhaps I will be going home to be with her and the family in August. Please keep her in your prayers, her devoted husband, great children and grandchildren and all of us.

                                                                                             Sr. Susan Sheehan
                                                                                               July 6, 2017