Today I visited the village of Khuza’a in the Gaza Strip. I was met with poverty, disease, disability, humiliation, helplessness, and much more. It is worse than any explanation or description I can offer. In the last few days, we installed lighting units providing light to 181 families. The purpose of this energy system is to allow residents to have lighting in the major rooms of their home, charge phones and use fans in their homes beyond the four hours a day they have power. We feel very happy that the engineers and I were able to give light and power to so many families, helping children study and families to flourish together. However, as we left, we had many more families approaching us, asking when they would be receiving the systems in their own homes as well. It is bittersweet, helping so many families while inevitably feeling the helplessness of the situation.

This year, Ramadan comes during our days of mourning following the massacre on Monday, May 14th, after 62 people were killed and thousands injured at the fence. Even so when they announced that tomorrow was the first day of Ramadan, people came out of their homes to the streets. Because most families do not have enough power to support a refrigerator in their homes, they must go to the shop daily. In the past, we used to see families coming home with large bags full of a variety of food and dessert items in excess. Now their bags are very small. Due to high rates of poverty and unemployment, they are only getting what they need to survive.

These days, most families in Gaza will be struck by sadness whenever they break the fast for Ramadan. At many of these homes, there will be a family member missing, killed or injured by the Israeli army. This will be the hardest for the mothers and fathers who will be mourning the loss of their children during this holy time.

We are surrounded by death on all sides, but we love life and we want to be free.