My Visit to Khuza’a Village

In September, I visited to Khuza’a village in eastern Gaza with my daughter Basma. The village has been savagely attacked, first by bombs and then even worse when Israeli troops invaded on July 23rd. I was there during a brief ceasefire in August but this visit was different. I had time to take in the extent of the destruction. It was not easy for me to see kindergartens that have been destroyed, along with water reservoirs, schools, tens of buildings. We drove in the streets with difficulty, as they were damaged by the army tanks. I came across people sitting in front of their demolished homes—nearly every single house was whether been completely demolished of partially destroyed. But people were still spending most of their days around the remnants of their homes. They told me that even though their houses have been destroyed, it is where they feel most comfortable, it's the only home they have.

I could see many signs of life in the aftermath of this horrendous event, a barber resuming his work in a partially destroyed shop; women making bread in clay ovens, even offering us some to eat; children wandering in the streets. But what really caught my attention was that the village doesn’t have any running water or electricity. I could see the clearly destroyed electric lines, the feelings of frustration, anger and despair on the faces of the people I met, and agricultural land with trees uprooted,

Later that day, we went to Al Ameer kindergarten where a “Let the Children Play and Heal” team of two psychologists and two children’s counselors was working with about 50 children and their mothers. This is one of the psychosocial support projects MECA is supporting. The kindergarten is very modest and very close to the border with Israel. Many of those kids have experienced traumatic events: some of them lost their homes, some witnessed the killing of a relative, a neighbor or a friend. One child Adel, age 8, was immersed in building a fort from sand for the whole hour we were visiting. With all the playing and shouting around him, he didn’t look up once. He shut out the world completely. MECA’s work with the children at this time is extremely important for the thousands of children who need help to overcome their traumatic experiences.