Monday, February 2, 2009
The warm people of Gaza stay indoors
SALAM FROM GAZA! Gaza is very quiet tonight. Most people are indoors. The hotel I'm staying is running on genset only. Only 11 guests remain here. The rest have checked out, probably to return to their homeland. My team from Yayasan Salam are getting ready to leave Gaza after more than a week in this beautiful city under siege. We made three trips today to visit a girls school where the children drew their impression of the war in Gaza. Next we visited a relief centre for the pyisically-challenged. It was simply amazing to see how the people go on with their lives despite the apparent danger they are exposed. My friends from Global Peace Malaysia, Khairil and Azlan, diehard relief workers from the days of Bosnia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Acheh and many other places, distributed milk and other relief items for the second day running. We had dinner at a nice restaurant where we met Imad, a Gazan who studied at the Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang. He still remember a few Malay words and greeted us with "apa khabar?" I took a lot of pictures and plan to upload into my blog, but that may not be possible tonight. We've got word that the border may be closed in a few days time, and this has prompted us to pack our bags and making plans to move out. We made many new friends here, people who are friendly and warm and always willing to take us to their homes for chai (tea) and share their heart=breaking stories. I met several survivors of a family whose houses and properties, including a poultry farm, has been shelled and trampled to the ground. Malaysia is a blessed country, and we must do everything to keep it that way. It's 1030pm here. Catch up with all of you soon, insyaAllah.