Saturday, May 30, 2009

News Bits for April and May 2009

April brought a new pastor to Gaza Fr. George and this month he was orientated by Fr. Manuel who had spent 14 years as pastor of the Catholic church. Fr. George is from Argentina and has studied Arabic which he speaks well. May one, he took over his parish from Fr. Manuel who left for his retirement in Ramallah.

Our prayers accompany him and Fr. George as they both continue their journeys to holiness in Ramallah and in Gaza.We made four or five visits to Gaza these months visiting each of our schools and visited some families the regions devastated by the war. One would expect to find some improvement since the war. Due to no building materials being allowed in the situation remains the same.

The only change was seeing the iron rods which were twisted in the ruins were removed to be sold. Gas and gasoline were available now for those who could afford it. Donkeys and carts are as commons as cars now on the roads. Vegetables and fruits are being harvested and sold. The prices are low, which is good for the poor, yet very bad for the farmers. Some items of necessity come in still by the tunnels at the south.

We are able to continue to run our programs due to the presence and good organizational skills of Sabah. The nursery schools all closed at the end of this month; we were able to be at the end of the year party in one of the schools. By the end of June the summer camps begin in the same buildings for elementary age children. This summer we will be able to sponsor 8 camps each for 60 children for two weeks.

When visiting the poor families, who receive food monthly from us, three teenage boys were found to need eye surgery. So far we have the funding for one boy and hope to be able to send all three from different families and regions for surgery. Some may have to go to Egypt for it.

The security is all dependent on Hamas gunmen posted at intersections of Gaza City holding automatic riffles. Sabah for example doesn't allow her teenage children out unaccompanied.

Spirits there are low; people feel restricted and imprisoned at every turn. As Pentecost arrives may the Spirit's presences be felt, both Muslim and Christian find the strength to go on together without bitterness, but with hope.

Sr. Susan and Team

Miscellaneous Photos January-May 2009