(written May 2015)

Things in Gaza do not work the way they do in most other parts of the world, not even in the simplest of things, like getting clean water from the tap.

Taking a look back, it is easy to see that what defines the very existence of a Palestinian family in Gaza, is endless wars.
While the news may say the war has ended, on the ground, the war is not over yet, and those who suffer most are the children. In a society where poverty is plain mainstream, where lacking life’s basic needs is the norm, another little girl grows up helping her family survive instead of playing with dolls.
Meet Shaza Hendeeq, a five-year old girl from Khan Younis, who rides daily with her father on his donkey-cart to a desalination plant to get drinkable water.
Their ordeal started last summer, in the 2014 war on Gaza. For the duration of the war, Shaza and her family were forced to ride their cart every day to get clean water – an ordeal that matured Shaza way beyond her young age.
Listening to her speak about her life during that time makes you understand that she has been denied a normal childhood. What she went through turned her into the kind of girl who will never be comforted by such statements as “everything is going to be okay.”
“At the beginning,” she tells me, “I was excited that I would finally get out of the house. My dad asked for my help to lift the water bottles and I immediately said yes.”
But soon Shaza became aware of the risks, and knew that she and her father might not return from getting the water.
“We usually waited until evening and then went out to prepare the cart. By the time our journey started, my excitement would diminish as I could see how worried my father was. The first day, on our way to the desalination plant, it was quiet, but on our way back home we heard bombings. My father put his arms around me, but the bombing sounds kept getting closer and closer. That’s when I realized that we are not on a fun journey anymore.”
The feeling of guilt cannot leave me when I hear the little girl talk. What has a child done to have to experience something like this?
The problem did not end with the end of the war.
Shaza and her family still ride their donkey cart every day to get water. They fear another war is yet to come, and in preparation, they fill gallons and gallons with water.
Shaza and her family are but one example of the water crisis in Gaza since the last war. The Gaza Strip is having an everlasting fight with Israel on the water issue. The situation is getting worse and no solutions or steps are taken towards solving it.
Gaza’s water resource status reports, issued by the Palestinian Water Authority, show that 3.8% of the domestic water is suitable for drinking, while 96.2% of the domestic water (provided by municipalities) is undrinkable.
The one and only way to get clean drinking water is from the public desalination plants situated in the Gaza Strip provinces.
According to the Palestinian Water Authority, there are 150 desalination plants in the Gaza Strip, but in reality, there are only a few such plants, and they are meant to provide drinkable water to 1 million and a half Gazans!
Aya El-Zinati is 26-year old, holds a BA in English Literature, and lives in Gaza City. She describes herself as a thinker, journalist, blogger, scriptwriter, and filmmaker. She wants to be a difference-maker in the world. Aya loves compelling stories, worthy causes, and the TRUTH. “If you want to learn more about the world, you have to encourage yourself to learn and read, and speak up the truth,” she says.
1 Comment

    This story makes me think how spoiled we all are over here..people need to read stories from the heart and the mind from so many like you. thank you so much

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