Wednesday, February 6, 2019
The second visit was by Lorenzo and Sandra last week. They went for the day and visited 6 families. They saw much poverty as Sandra said they saw homes with no windows and doors and children with bare feet. They encountered the sick and one lady needed surgery in Egypt and received the permission to travel, yet didn’t have the money to go there. The Mininstry of Health pays for the operation. Lorenzo had cash with him, so he went to the bank and changed the money into sheckels so Sabah could give her the travel money.
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Saturday, December 22, 2018
Dear Friends and Benefactors,“A Light will shine on us this day; the Lord is born for us.” Ps. 97
These have been dark days for the very poor of Gaza; your generosity has brought light to many families.
Our families have received food packages, and chronically sick children and adults received urgently needed monthly medicines. Four pre-schools were able to feed 400 children six days a week with nutritious meals. Being it is Christmas and the three Kings shared their wealth with Jesus; you made it possible for us to add some toys with the 150 bags of food this month. If you could have only seen the many little faces lightening up as they discovered the ball or toys in their food bag. Four hundred and fifty children received new coats.
Youmade it happen because of your generosity, allowing us to be facilitators who are trying to give a Christian face of true love and caring in their moment of need. We gave very basic things such as noodles and rice, blankets, winter coats, roof repairs and repairs to cover holes in the walls.
Be assured of our daily prayers of gratitude from the five of us; two Brothers and three Sisters who go to Gaza monthly. We also ask the Lord to bless you and yours.
You have been a blessing to many families of Gaza and their daily struggles.
Lorenzo, Martino. Sandra, Julianna, Susan
P.S. The pictures show a group of children with new winter coats which they received last week in one of our pre-schools. Another photo is of the teachers serving a falafel sandwich to the children and the third photo is of a family receiving food.
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Friday, December 21, 2018
December 11 and 12th visit
This was a two day visit this time where we were able to visit two pre-schools the first day and two pre-schools the second day. We were fortunate a in each school we witnessed the children receiving warm winter coats. At first they were surprised and it took them a while to realize that these were their own coats and that they could take them home. Each school had a different color for the girls and boys and a different style.
We also witnessed the children getting a nice warm meal which included meat. The children were all hard at work learning their numbers or letters. A couple of schools really need toys as in each classroom one group plays on the rugs and another two groups work at the tables.
We visited four families and brought them a bag of food. Two of these families’ homes are in terrible condition. One of these homes is flooded up about 80 cm when it rains as the rain from the street runs into their home which is lower than the street. I don’t know how they manage. We will try to find help for them.
As usual we stayed the night with the Missionaries of Charity who are always so welcoming. We had a nice visit with Fr. Mario, the parish priest and he had said Mass for all of us that morning.
Lorenzo and Martino went down a few days after us and they visited the homes which need repair and the two homes which are being repaired.
In January our team will have a meeting evaluating how things are going. Sabah, her husband and daughter will hope to travel to see the rest of the family abroad and be away a month
a 4:56 PM
My Gaza Visit in OctoberThis time during my Gaza visit we centered on visiting two of the Kindergartens around the outskirts of Gaza city and also some families where we brought their monthly food bags to them.
The first Kindergarten which is called Hanna’s School we visited was one that had very poor possibilities and according to the sharing of the teachers, this meal is the only meal the children are able to eat during the day. There are about 100 children and they received their meal during our visit, the pictures speak for themselves. I have never seen children eating with such respect and dignity for their food. You could not hear one word during the meal. Even when the meal was distributed, each one waited its turn to get the meal, and it seems to me that the children were thinking and asking themselves in silence - will tomorrow have another meal? The Kindergarten class is very basic in this building, with no possibility for toys or material for the children, but the room is very clean and also the children were all clean. Their behavior was outstanding!
The schedule of food is that they receive food daily during kindergarten. Two times a week is a meal is with meat, once a week there is fruit and 2 times a week a sandwich of cheese or egg. Once a week the teacher can decide what they will give the children to eat and that depends on the money that is left for food during that week. So it could be another meal or it could be only a sandwich.
The second kindergarten which is called the Musaddar School has 200 children and its place is within a development center and again it reminded me of my life in Egypt, when Caritas was giving health courses and doctors were checking the health of the children and of the village people. The people are helped to improve their daily life by education and awareness programs, yet many of their problems are solved among themselves. The people in Gaza are all educated and do not need to have programs for people to learn to read or to write as we would have had that challenge in each village of Egypt.
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Visit September 4th. – Day Visit
I went down alone as our three members of our team were busy and I went for the day only. As usual Sabah met me at the border. We went immediately to Fawyeh’s School as it is very near the border. The children were being entertained by Mario the clown who is terrific with the children. We pay his transport and each day he goes to one of our schools. The children having been only four days in school they were a bit shy and adjusting. Most of the children are new in all our pre-schools as kindergarten is obligatory only for the 4 and 5 year olds. Few parents can afford to send the three year olds now due to the increases poverty.
We visited two families both in the same area, and both are very poor and we brought with us a bag of food for each family. This month we are able to provide 200 families with a bag of food containing 14 items. The first family are seven, their home was very clean and orderly despite hardly any furniture. The second family are six with a very disabled little girl of 3 and ½ years old who is very thin. They family was very dirty and they lived very closely with other families who also were dirty. The child needs special milk and therapy. We tried to open them up to having the child put with the Missionaries of Charity who can study her needs with a pediatrician and provide better care for her.
I finished the day with work in our office and a visit to Sr. Delfina to ask her to visit or to receive the family with the little girl who needs care. She agreed. I was also able to visit their new building which is great that will be for the chronically ill both men and women.
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Saturday, August 25, 2018
Visit August 14, 2018
Sr. Sandra went down for her third time to Gaza and Sr. Julianna went down for her first time, so we were three sisters who went for the day. Sabah meet as at the border and helped with the paper work to get one in who name wasn’t in the computer.
We went off first to visit two families in a very poor area of Gaza City, an area which was heavily shelled in the 2016 war. The first was a young mother of 7 children who had received food as the father was unemployed and there was no money for the basics like food. The home was clean and almost empty. The children are good looking children. Being off from school they were all at home. A woman organization will redo their bathroom for them as it has only a toilet and they need their kitchen redone also which is very small. The father is aggressive toward his wife and the children.
The second family of 8 were abandoned by the father. His two brothers try to support the family. One of these brothers live near and is married with one child. This family is also very poor. Again the home was clean, yet it has very few furnishings. They sit on mats on the floor which they sleep on at night.
Being it was Sr. Julianna’s first visit we showed her the little harbor and saw that one boat which was emptying its nets had caught very little fish. It is sardine season now. We also saw two cultural centers which had been destroyed recently; they were new and several stories high.We went to our office again for the sisters to see for the first time and to drop off some clothing which we had brought with us. Then we visited Sabah’s home and saw her daughter and her two little children who are visiting for the first time in four years. They live abroad. The people are preparing for the Feast of Al Adhack the 21st of August which lasts several days.
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Visit July 2018
Lorenzo and I went down for only a day this time as it was a busy month for each of us. Both of us needed our permits renewed on the Gaza side of the boarder. The parish priest or his staff help us with this. Fr. Mario was out of the area ,so one of the staff did it for us. This meant a trip first thing to the parish.
Sabah had two families whom she wanted us to see; they each had children with disabilities. The first family had one young man of 26 years old who suffered with mental illness which kept him inside in fear that he would run away. He has his violent moments. The home was clean and the young man was clean and laying on a mattress on the floor that was also clean. The apartment had hardly any furniture and their poverty was evident.
The second family has five adult children and their brain damage renders walking difficult for each one. They all have mental limitations
which are visible on their faces and in their actions. The parents seem normal. One of their sons is married to a woman who seems normal and they have two young boys who seem normal. The grandparents fear that if these boys grow up with all the others who are brain damaged that they too will be effected by the others. Sabah has sought help for them to have an apartment of their own yet has had no success so far. This house has a few more furnishings and is very clean as are all the members of the family.
The food distribution continues for the 170 families and the medical needs for 35 to 40 children and adults continues these summer months.
Politically things are up in the air and we pray for a just solution to the situation in Gaza.
Saturday, June 30, 2018
End of May visit by Bro. Lorenzo and Sr. Sandra
This visit was for the day only as the schools closed for the summer in mid-May. Still they went to visit the Musaddar School which is always a center of activity as it serves the whole area. They saw the food distribution for this very poor rural area. For some very poor families they delivered bags of food. The pictures of these families show their story. One very large family who we have known for a long time has been able to build a house to live in as they have always been in a tent. They are a Bedouin family who now numbers 50 people in all. Several sons have married and begun families of their own.
For those who have been following our activities in Gaza the bank did not close, so we are able to distribute food to 170 families for the next six months. We thank you who have been praying with us so that the bank would not close.Politically it was a very difficult month before Ramadan began. Every Friday there were demonstrations, deaths and injuries. Medicines are very scarce, amputations of limbs especially legs are frequent. It has continued despite Ramadan and the political future is very uncertain. Gaza continues to be like a big prison. Egypt opened its border, but Hamas gives only the elderly or sick the permission to leave.
Thursday, May 3, 2018
This month we began our food distribution for 70 families due to a donation which came in from our community. It is a “God Sent” in that the situation in Gaza has worsened greatly this month Abu Mazen of Fetta from the West Bank who pays the salaries of the municipality workers cut off the salaries due to a dispute with the Hamas government which controls the Gaza Strip. The results is that thousands of employees have had no income all month and this means very little to no food.
Last month already things were getting very bad. If you recall that we had visited on family of 6 women who hadn’t eaten in three days.
Families with members who are disabled are the priority as it was very difficult to decide which families needed food the most. The pictures included with this news shows you the items given each family and how some of their members are disabled. Our two ladies go to different shops to get good quality food at the lowest prices. They decide what should be included in the bags for each family and set a day for distribution. The family comes usually by donkey cart and sign that they have received the food and take their bag of food and often the bags of the other people in their area.
There is a possibility that our bank will be closed in Gaza which will impede our three programs going on there. Money for May has been transferred, yet the summer months are not assured. Please pray with us that our bank can remain open.The pre-schools close in the summer, but the sick need medications and the very poor need food.
No one was free or had their coordination to go down with me so I went alone this time. Sabah and Wasel both meet me at the border and we visited the one school that I hadn’t visited in February. It is located in the poorest area of the old City of Gaza City. This area was heavily hit in the last war. The Zahar School opened only two years ago after existing under the same name but in another location. Contrary to our other schools the number of students have decreased as there are several new pre-schools opened in the area run by Hamas. The people being poor find it hard to pay the small fee at the Zahar School, so they go to the Hamas Schools which are free. They are down to 45 children in only two classes. They have two classrooms empty. We will try to have them make their school known m in the fall so that more children who parents do not want their children to go to a Hamas pre-school to know that this exists and it offers a meal along with a good education.
We visited the three homes that we had sponsored for renovations. They all received windows, doors, flooring, bathrooms and kitchens. The families did not know that we were coming and we found them all very clean and orderly. The mothers seemed to take heart and do better housekeeping. One father and his brother did all the work of installing items and repairing their home. He was all smiles as we admired the changes which we encountered. The third family which we visited at the end of our stay the mother cried and said that they had not eaten for three days. We could see no signs of food in the kitchen and so we gave them some money to buy some food and promised that in the near future that they would be receiving some food. Lorenzo had given Sabah some money for food for the very poorest families.
We also had an errand to the bank.
Politically things are very unstable as Albass of Fatah and Hamas have not united, but rather split. It appears that Hamas will take over all the cost of funding salaries, electrify, the entry of medicines, control of the boarders and all the Ministries of the government in Gaza. This is quite a blow to the majority of the people who are very poor who depend on donations of food and salaries, if they are fortunate enough to have a job with the government. In the last six to eight months Hamas has only paid their staff one thousand shekels every three months. People cannot eat properly with such a small salary and must depend on social Services and NGOs. We met with the directors of the schools and this was the topic of conversation.
We covered a lot of ground the first day as the second day I had to leave early due to other commitments. I lodged as usual with the Missionaries of Charity who are always very welcoming.
Perhaps there are no pictures with this news bit this time as the pictures have already been put in recently about the home renovations.