Playing with my niece Maryam in the sand area

After taking 10 days off of work, since I was extremely overwhelmed after the last offensive on Gaza, it was time to go back to work. I wanted to start off with where I left things, the last note I had in my notebook was that we didn’t finish the construction of the playground in Khuza’a.

I decided to visit the playground to follow up on our work, accompanied by my niece Maryam, 20 months, who had not visited any playground before, as there are no such spaces in Nuseirat refugee camp where we live. We prepared sandwiches and took water bottles and agreed to return home after half an hour.

These are my reflections on the visit I made on June 10:

When I arrived, I was amazed at the number of children and families that were there already. It felt like all the residents of Khuza’a were in the park. Many children were playing, racing and riding bicycles. Many families were enjoying their lunch and drinking tea. There were seven stalls selling popcorn, pastries and biscuits at the entrance of the park.

The playground was ALIVE! It was beaming with happiness, serenity, and joy.

The playground was ALIVE! It was beaming with happiness, serenity, and joy

I finally took a breath and felt hopeful after so many days of disappointment and helplessness during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip. When I saw the smiling and reassuring faces of the people after these past long days of tears, screams and wailing, I realized that the people here have a great ability and intention to rise up again after every Israeli attempt to erase any form of happiness or easiness. “This park came at the right time”, this is the most common sentence I’ve heard while I was there.

Time flies here … Maryam and I spent an hour and a half running, eating and playing. This time was enough to renew my energy, make me feel accomplished and bring me back to work with more passion and ability to continue.

Saying thank you to everyone who took part in this, is not enough, but still… Thank you to everyone who made this happen.

It came at the right time.

There is lots to do at this new park and playground MECA built with support from The Big Ride for Palestine and in partnership with Bait Al-Mustaqbal Association