Thursday, May 3, 2018

Food distribution

April 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. 

Visit March 2018

March Visit
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.