Friday, September 9, 2022

Visit August 2022

 


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Sr. Susan, Sr. Frantiska, and Fr. George visited three preschools and two recently renovated homes on August 29 and 30.  Sabah, who had recovered from a second, severe bout of COVID, led us on the visits.  The first preschool was called Shamsy Ed’da School.  It was in a very poor area within the eye-sight of farmland where most of the parents worked. In the past, Sabah had worked with the director, a university-trained preschool administrator.  This school also helped Sabah with food distribution and medical aid programs.  The school needs new bathrooms, a storage shed, a counter in the kitchen, an artificial lawn (too much sand tracked in), and a canopy for the playground.  

The second proposed school had two small classrooms on an upper floor, a challenging staircase, and dilapidated bathrooms.  We felt there were too many major needs.  The school had 150 preschoolers in the past—too many for the space. We questioned if this school follows the local preschool guidelines.

The two renovated homes with eight and six children had multiple improvements: a new bathroom, kitchen improvements, newly tiled floors, windows, and painted walls. The children were happy.  The parents of the family with six children said that their kids no longer spend all their time outside on the street because they have a real home with more space inside to play.

We cut our visit a little short on Tuesday to allow Sa bah more time to rest.  Through Sami, our driver and helper, she had kept abreast of renovations and other work even while ill.  We pray for her continued recovery. Wasel our social worker lost her husband two weeks ago so these two women have had a difficult summer.

 

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Saturday, June 11, 2022

May 2022 visit

 



MAY 25, 2022 VISIT

Br. Lorenzo, Sr. Frantiska and I went down for the day and we had two goals in mind. Having some money left over from the academic year, we wanted to see about sponsoring summer camps this summer. We also wanted to visit a home that was newly renovated and chose another one to be done in July. 

We started our visit to the two homes. We were very pleased with the home which was renovated. The family members were all smiles. The other home was next door to this home. It was in very bad condition and had only two small rooms for a family of seven. When visiting the home with Sabah, the architect said that renovations were not possible as the building had serious structural problems. It wouldn’t support renovations.

Next we went to our office where Sabah had researched well for us the information needed to see if we could have each of our three pre-schools invite 100 elementary-aged children for summer camps for two weeks. This we decided was possible. 

In September we hope to add the forth pre-school which may need renovations to get their permit to be registered as a pre-school. The other three schools also need some materials for their schools such as rugs, painting, and indoor and outdoor toys.


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Monday, March 21, 2022

March 2022 visit


 

March 8 and 9 2022 Trip to Gaza   

 

On March 8 and 9, 2022, Sr. Susan, Sr. Frantiska, Fr. George, Sabah, and Sami visited the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza.  They first visited a one-story home approved for renovation last November.  The construction crew contracted by Sabah had completed a significant amount of work.  The crew rebuilt the kitchen and built an entirely new room in an interior courtyard.  All the rooms have new corrugated roofs and are ready for the installation of window frames and glass. 

The kitchen was a complete upgrade with plastered walls and tiled floors.  The construction crew added three or four decorative tiles on the wall above the location of a new countertop. The family, especially the children, were all smiles. They were witnessing significant material improvements to their home.  And the home builders were happy.  The construction crew wore yellow neon safety vests with “Daughters of Charity Gaza Association” printed on the back.  These men had meaningful work, and they knew two English words, “Thank You.”

Zeitun is a poor, densely populated area of the city. The worn-down buildings approach, in some cases, 100 years of use.  The Gaza Project assists the Samira Women’s Association with medicine, food, and clothes.  The group has a food preparation business and before the pandemic had exported pre-cooked, bagged meals to Morocco and Spain.  As a result of the pandemic, the entire community has lost work and income.  Many people have not received financial assistance from either Samira or the civil welfare system for over one year. The Association continues to provide the Gaza Project with the names and addresses of the families most in need of help.

The team also visited the Zakhir preschool in Zietun. The school located in a residential building had 70 students in attendance with three small rooms acting as classrooms, an activity area the size of a large living room, and a covered interior patio with some play equipment and artificial grass. The eight teachers and administrators had the children entertain the team, with songs, stationary exercises, and plenty of smiles. The preschool needs significant upgrading: repair or replacement of the courtyard roof, expansion of the bathroom to fulfill the local ordinances, the hanging windows, and faucets for the play area. Sr. Susan and the team saw this preschool as a worthy charitable project.

During the trip, the team visited four homes for potential renovation.  Two homes were beyond the point of renovation.  The Gaza Project gave one family funds to pay for travel costs for medical visits.  The owner of the second house acknowledged that renovation was not possible with bowed and weakened walls. A third house could possibly have some roofing renovation.  This is to be determined by the contractor and Sabah.  Finally, the team visited a family in the Beach Refugee Camp.  The family had a two-room house with eight children. Placing the water tank on the roof will gain some space. The Project will also provide windows and a door.  

Sister Frantiska had the team bring three well-packed suitcases of clothes for distribution.  When unpacked, the clothes filled 12 large, plastic container bags.  A welcomed wonder!

Time was spent with the Missionaries of Charity and the Institute of the Divine Word priests at Holy Family Parish. The team visited the local museum as an excursion prior to leaving.


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Tuesday, February 15, 2022

February 2022 visit

 


VISIT FEBRUARY 8th AND 9th

 

Sr. Frantiska and I went together this visit. We had no troubles entering or leaving. Sabah had us visit right away a home that we have chosen to renovate. They need extensive renovations: a bathroom outside the home, a second bedroom for the children, a new roof, windows and flooring in places. The second family which we visited had the father in bed as he has suffered 14 years with cancer. They had their bathroom and kitchen put in by another relief organization, but they still need a new roof, flooring and an added bedroom as they all sleep in one room now. They have nine children.

We met with the directors of the four pre-schools. We reminded them that the teachers should be getting their full salaries of 300 to 400 nis monthly since we are covering the fees for the families who can pay only part of the monthly 20 nis. 

After that, we visited a home that we had just renovated. The family was very happy with the results of their renovations. They are a family of 12 children; the Father and one son are diabetic. We had helped them with medicines and bags of food.

Next we made condolence visits to two families. We went for the evening to the Missionaries of Charity Sisters where we always spend the night. They always are so good to us and they bring up to date on what is happening in the parish.

The second day we went to the Middle Camps to visit our two schools there. The children were hard at work. In the school sponsored by Marco, the Italian clown, we were able to see the outcome of many great renovations that were made. We tried to visit a third school, but were too late so we visited a Women’s Center. This center supports this pre-school and their kitchen prepares nice meals for the children. On the next visit we hope to visit the school while the children are there.

Sabah’s photos help us to share our visit with you.


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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

January 2022 visit by Lorenzo

 


January visit by Lorenzo

Lorenzo went down just for the day. He and Sabah visited three homes. Their visit were to choose the next homes to be renovated. Two of the homes were in a bad condition and one will be renovated soon. Our pictures this month are of a home that was renovated in mid-December. You will see the condition of the home before the renovations and then the condition of the home after the renovations. There is one pictures of Sabah and Lorenzo talking to the family.


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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Visit November 2021

 



Our visit Nov. 22 and 23 of November 2021

Our newest member Fr. George Schultze joined Sr. Frantiska and me for this visit. Although we couldn’t rent a car as we usually do, we found that we could take a taxi from the Damascus Gate to and from Gaza.

The first day we were just the three of us, and the second day Lorenzo joined us. That first morning was spent visiting families in need of home repairs or homes which we repaired during the Covid. We were pleased with the home renovation outcomes due to Sabah’s close supervision. Our driver is also volunteering his time to help Sabah. Before winter we hope to renovate two more homes.

In the afternoon we met with Sabah.  It was Fr. George’s first visit, and we showed him the popular little fishing port. Later Fr. Gabriel welcomed Fr. George to the priest’s residence, and they discussed the situation of the local church. We sisters joined the Missionaries of Charity where we are always welcomed to spend the night. They spent some time with us in the evening.

The following day, being we were a larger group, one group went to visit the two schools in the Middle Camps, and Lorenzo joined us to clear up some long-standing problems with our bank. We met in the office where again we had lunch, and Sabah again shared news with us.

Sami the driver took us to the border where we hired a taxi to Jerusalem. Arriving at Damascus Gate, we took public transportation  or walked to our various homes.


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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Visit October 2021

 


VISIT OCTOBER 24 AND 25 OF 2021

Sr. Frantiska and I were asked to be in Gaza to see a NGO L’Oeuvre de l’Orient who supports our Medical program in Gaza now for several years. We were asked only a few days before to go so Sabah, Fr. Gabriel, his man in charge of permits worked hard to get us the needed documents. We were to be at the Mass in Gaza that morning. The journalist met us after Mass and asked us to return at 4 pm as he had other people to see. Sabah sent the driver and we went to the office and had schawamers sandwiches and talked about the recent events in Gaza. After we still had time to visit three very poor families. The photos which I took share the realities of their lives.  Several had members with special needs. Two have homes which let the rains and cold of the winter months that are approaching penetrate so that everyone and everything is soaked. One home has no water in the bathroom nor in the kitchen and the mother cooks outside over a wood fire. One Father of the family is from Egypt so they can get no assistance from any organization. For each family we help them with food and medications. After we were back at the Missionaries of Charity to see the journalist.

The following day we met with all the directors of the pre-schools. They main topic off their conversation was that they are grateful to be able to keep their school open as Al Omri provides the fees for the majority of the children who cannot afford to go to the schools.

Another big topic of conversation was hopeful as now 1,000 workers are allowed to get permits to work or trade in Israel. If this number can grow it will have a great impact on the economic crises which now exists in Gaza. Eighty percent of the population now depends on food packages from many different sources. Please pray with us that many more men will be able to work in Israel. Entering and leaving we saw hundreds of men going in or leaving at the border. It was truly great to see.

Sr. Susan


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Monday, August 2, 2021

Visit July 2021

 


In July I were delighted to go down to Gaza after being absent for one year and a half. It felt so right to be there. Seeing Sabah, Wesel, Fawyseh and Mohamed again made me feel right at home. The debris from the destruction was still being scooped up with heavy machinery, carried away and roads were being opened again. In this last war they shelled residential area and high rise apartments mainly. In the last war Hamas building had been shelled.

Having had troubles getting my permit to enter I spent two hours in a new building waiting in the heat to enter. Sabah and Sami our driver were a welcome sight when they came with the document allowing me to enter.

The main reason for this visit was to go to the bank to solve some long lasting problem. Again we had some hitches. I never made any headway and hopefully Bro. Lorenzo and I will go down together and get things worked out in September. We both have our signatures for our bank account in case that either of us is away and we can still take money out.

Sabah brought me up on the situation. We have no problems with getting medications for the very poor monthly. The pre-schools are still closed until the middle of August or September first. No building material are allowed in yet after the war so we cannot continue for the moment to renovate homes. The funding has been promised us for two or three homes. The food distribution to 100 poor families continues until the end of September. 

A real concern is that none of the families who send their children to the pre-schools can pay the small fees monthly for their children. We hope to meet in September and try to work out a solution so our three pre-schools can continue.

Pictures will follow which tells the results of the short but powerful shelling lf the last war.


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Friday, July 2, 2021

Info June 2021

 


June Events

With the pre-schools closed it was a quieter month for Sabah and Wasel. Yet they were able to continue with the medical program. They change the region each month so that we don’t serve the same people monthly. Still families with disabled people have priority. We are able to give diapers to about 14 individuals monthly also and these people have different handicaps.

They also visited many new families; names that have been given them these last months in order to decide what families are most in need of food. Here priorities have been given to those who lost their home in the last war. Sr. Frantiska and I hope to visit Gaza and to go to see some of these families this month when we receive our permits to go there. One hundred families have been chosen to receive the 14 items in each bag. It is all dry foods due to little electricity for refrigeration. The items included are soap for personal hygiene, washing dishes and laundry.

Next month in August, when the pre-schools are open for registering children for the fall  Sabah and Wasel will be choosing a fourth school for us to replace the Musaddar Pre-School which one of our benefactors have begun to sponsor. They have three schools in mind to visit.

Photos of the women and one young girls are here to show who received medications for June.


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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Infos May 2021


 

For those who have followed the events this month in Gaza you know that May tenth began the war in Israel and in Gaza which last eleven days ending on May 21st.Like the other post-war realities we began to receive donations to help us reach the hunger and the homeless now over 32,000 who were living mostly in the UNERWA schools. Yet this time, Sabah who directs our programs there was not totally over the COVID which she had contacted a few weeks previously. For the eleven days of the war nightly shelling gave little possibility to sleep or go out on the streets. She and her husband who lived in an area which was heavily shelled had to move in with friends.

Tomorrow almost one week after the end of the war many people are still in shock. Others are busy cleaning and moving the rubble from homes and streets. Last Monday we had hoped to get urgent medications to people; the streets were not passable, now we hope to do this next Monday. Sabah is feeling stronger, yet is not fully herself. We feared that our office was damaged, yet the windows are still there and it only needed a good cleaning. Funding came in to feed 200 families in June 100 more than what we do monthly. The pre-Schools are closed probably until September. Today our two women will begin to visit the hard hit families in the north where the shelling was the worst. The families also need hygiene kits with the basic items that they need immediately. The pictures included with this update will be taken by them today.


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