OPT: A dream come true

Gaza - It is a simple dream for a poor family to desire to sleep on a bed and to be able for their children to study at a desk, but for many of Gaza's residents, even the most basic of items that many of us take for granted, are for them, out of reach.

The Harb family are among those who are not able to afford any extras that life offers those with the resources to buy them. They are just now trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. They own a very small house in the Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in central Gaza. The Harb home has no beds. The eight members of the Harb family sleep on tiny unhealthy mattresses on the floor. Their dream was to sleep on a bed. This is what the mother, Sabah, said when Caritas met her two months ago: "We sleep on the floor. We don't have beds to sleep on and we don't expect to have any... we barely cover our basic needs like food and clothes. We thank God that we are still alive." (Note story from Caritas Jerusalem "Happy Mother's Day, Sabah!" - 3/21/07)

Recently, Caritas Jerusalem visited the Harb home again. Nail, the oldest brother opened the door. He and the rest of the family did not know what was happening. We entered the house bringing three new beds and a desk. When we put the three beds (because their small home only could fit three beds, not more) in the room instead of the tiny mattresses, the family was speechless and totally surprised. Then, with eyes full of tears because of happiness, Nail said, "I cannot express what is inside me. I don't know how to thank you for ese nice gifts."

As in all refugee camps, the social relations are very strong and the neighbours are like members of one family. The neighbours shared in the Harb's happiness. Some children came inside and started playing around the new beds. All were happy, the children, the women, the neighbours and everyone in the Harb family. All were looking at us not knowing what to say. They thanked us many times, they brought us some juice and they wanted us to stay more time with them.

Mohamed, the youngest son, commented on the new desk. It was something unexpected by him, but he liked it very much. He said with a big smile, "I thank you and thank those who brought us this desk."

We, at Caritas Jerusalem, shared in this happiness. It is wonderful to be able to bring a smile to the faces of the marginalized and a very nice feeling helping to bring hope to others. Hope means that these people feel that they are not alone and forgotten.

A simple gift like this can change a whole life for a family in the Gaza Strip. The hardships Palestinians face need to be decreased and this is one way we can do it through targeted family support. Anyone can make a change and can make a dream true. Join us and help us in reaching out to those deprived people in the Gaza Strip to help make their dreams come true.

On behalf of all the beneficiaries from our emergency program, we wish to thank our partners and friends for helping Caritas Jerusalem to bring hope to a hurting nation.