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We are drilling a well! Finally…

So, after a few delays, bureaucratic problems mostly, Yesterday, Tuesday 21st, we actually began drilling….

For the few weeks since we returned, we have been working consistently and constantly on getting this project off the ground. First, we had to put the contract out for tender in the local paper… (Was actually pretty cool to get our name in the Palestinian press,). After a specific number of days, we then opened all the tenders in front of a committee from the trade union of Palestine and our contractor was finally agreed. Next was the many meeting’s  with contractor, engineers, villagers etc.

Finally, In the last few days we have watched as the steel container that will hold the plant itself is being built, the filters, the pump  the electrics are all  being built, fixed, moulded , and will be ready for transportation to the site in the coming days. Once the container is in place, the de-salination, purification, electrics will all be put in to place, water tanks and a distribution station will be hooked up and Umm Al Nasser village, a village of 5,000 people will have constant , free access to fresh clean drinking water.

This morning we arrived at Umm Al Nasser to find the drill in place, and the workers already started, we also, as usual, found an audience of children waiting for us.

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As the drilling began, the villagers randomly called to the site, which is situated deliberately in the centre of the village for access to as many as possible, interested to find out who was doing this for them, and always grateful when we explained it was you, the people of Ireland, friends and family from all over the world, not governmental, who have donated for this project. We, Derek and I, as Irish in Gaza, are implementing the well on behalf of each of you, and we are facilitated , kindly, by the trade union of Palestine.

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It is testament to the Irish, who , in the middle of their own fight for water, step up and fight for the right to water for all…

Copious amounts of tea and coffee throughout the day as the workers first dug the hole by hand, and then by machine ….

Didn’t hit water yet…  We explained we will settle for Oil if that is what we reach first…!!!

Will update over the next few days but please continue to donate … There is still much to do. We are very close to having the full amount to complete this stage of the project, but we still need your help.   To Donate please click : http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

Continue down for slideshow, and further down for video’s.

 

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The day after we visited the Al Shejayia neighbourhood, in eastern Gaza, we again jumped in the car and travelled to the Northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.The devastation here was on a scale as bad again. House, street, building after building destroyed…. and no concrete evidence of any help forthcoming. Every single house in one street alone had holes from shells, rockets and/or tank’s.

Look closely at the pictures and you will see, life must still go on in Beit Hanoun, and all over Gaza.Mothers still hang their laundry on broken walls and in wide open rooms to dry …  This is now daily life in Gaza , would you accept it? Neither would or should the Palestinian’s of Gaza…

All money donated via Irish in Gaza, goes 100% directly to projects in Gaza.

To donate click : Look closely at the pictures and you will see, life must still go on in Beit Hanoun, and all over Gaza.Mothers still hang their laundry on broken walls and in wide open rooms to dry … This is now daily life in Gaza , would you accept it? Neither would or should the Palestinian’s of Gaza…

All money donated via Irish in Gaza, goes 100% directly to project’s in Gaza,

To Donate click :   http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

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Devastation on a scale beyond word’s.  Al Shejayia neighbourhood,east Gaza city. As we drove through the neighbourhood, when you thought it could not get worse, you turn a corner and it does. House after house, home after home, street after street… levelled, turned to dust and rubble. There is very little left of what once was a residential area . Over 8,000 homes in this neighbourhood of Gaza alone have been either partially or totally demolished . When you see the childrens’ toys, shoes , ladies clothes, broken beds , personal items, you are reminded that this is not just a building, not just a news story and should never be remembered as such…these are homes, families, mother’s, father’s son’s daughter’s babies,grandparents…. Peoples lives.

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Childrens toy

Childrens toy

Mohammed is in the car with us, Mohammed evacuated his home after 4 rockets hit it killing his 2 brothers as he sat with them drinking coffee, . He explains It was 4.30 a.m. He was sitting in the porch area outside his family home, drinking coffee with his brother’s, Rani and Ali, when 4 rockets hit the house,  hitting the porch and his brothers. Both brothers were seriously injured, Rani  ( 30 years old) died almost immediately and  Ali ( 16 years) 4 hours later in hospital. Many more family members inside the house were injured, including the children who were subsequently taken to Turkey ( after the ceasefire) for treatment.  The shells continued even as they were attempting to take the dead and injured to hospital, in fact, one shell hit the car they were travelling in..Behind them in an open garden area , 45 shells hit alone.

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Mohammed , with his brothers Ali and Rani, RIP

As we drive, he explains stories of each street. The street where many people were shot dead as they ran from the bombing’s, the street where the Israeli tanks entered the area, the home where 7 , 10, 12 people were killed.  The street where shelling from f16’s continued shooting as ambulances tried to reach the dead and injured…In his area alone, 194 people were murdered…

The mosque, the local Health centre, the kindergarten, All in ruins, the broken shells of what remain will have to be knocked for safety reasons.. Already in Shejayia, men are sifting through the rubble, pulling out anything that may be used for aggregate, re-bar, steel etc but it is little and nothing that can be retrieved. We pass by and stop at El Wafa hospital where during the war shells continued to hit while seriously ill patients were inside. Internationals in this hospital spent many days and nights with the patients and staff hoping to offer some protection with their presence and trying to at least get a safe route for the patients out of the hospital…. All that is left there now is smashed concrete, smoke blackened bits of wall , scattered hospital files and twisted iron of hospital beds and stretchers.

In Al Khubbah area of Al Shajayia, bodies were still being retrieved from beneath the rubble 2 week’s after the ceasefire.  12 members of the same family were killed here while trying to escape. Further along, in the Industrial  area, the twisted metal of factories is all that remains.. the juice factory, the cola factory , the biscuit factory….burned, shelled, destroyed…

Before we left, We drove up El Montar mountain , where the water reservoir is situated… Again, what is left of it. The Israelis took over the top of Al Montar during the war and used it a a base.. From here you can look down over Gaza, a largely destroyed Gaza … but a Gaza that will never give up, never give in and a Palestine that will one day be free.

I apologize, I do not have the word’s to describe to you the horror’s, terror, devastation and injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people nor the beauty, resilience, steadfastness and dignity that IS the Palestinian people.

Below are pictures of the devastation seen in Shejayia;

All money donated via this blog goes directly to projects in Gaza, 100% of the money!

To donate click : http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

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Amid scenes of utter devastation, is the ever prevalent, ever existing humility, humanity, resilience that is Palestine.  We returned yesterday to Umm al Nasser village in Northern Gaza. A village that Israel, in its latest attacks on Gaza tried to wipe out and almost succeeded.

It’s hot and dusty, all around us are remnants of an unjust war, and still the children play and we sit, as usual, cross legged on the sand and drink sweet, sweet tea and talk and listen and admire in awe the hospitality of this village where we spend so much time these days.

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As is customary, We sit under the shade though there have been times, we have sat indoors for shelter from a scorching sun or the wind and rain…It is not an option today, unless we climb through the rubble and search in vain for a room with a roof left. Later we wander around to where the Mosque used to stand, pass by the car that was driven over by an Israeli tank in the area where the new well will be drilled, see home after home partially or totally destroyed, 150 families in this village alone have no home left. The homes that remain are riddled with shell holes, bullets holes or walls knocked from tanks.  Some are staying with friends or relatives, some have moved out of the village to rented apartments in nearby towns and some just erected makeshift tents of plastic and canvas sheets in the ruins of their family homes. For those that did leave, it is almost impossible to return each day to begin to salvage what is left of their homes and lands.

 

 

Further up the sandy road is the Kindergarten…or rather was the Kindergarten. This was an Italian sponsored kindergarten for the preschool children of a village of 5000 residents. Flattened!  All that remains is a massive crater, dust, twisted pieces of metal…and a burned and torn EU flag that originally flew from the building… (There was nobody left in the village when the Israeli’s blew up this school… Is education of infant’s such a threat to the national security of Israel? )

Kindergarten

Kindergarten

On the eleventh day of the onslaught, the villagers were all forced to evacuate. The Israeli ground troops actually invaded the village. The village is right beside the Israeli border and the front line for Gaza. The tanks rolled in across the crops, the bulldozers flattened what they came across….and 50 days or so without water meant that what the tanks, the bulldozers, the flares and the shootings did not already destroy, the harsh sun dried to a crisp…. There is nothing left. The chili plants disintegrate between your fingers, the corn is brown and dusty, and the ground is sand…. Destroyed. Lemon trees broken, burned, crumbling. Many of their animals were killed, camels, sheep, cows… One man alone lost all his crops, all his animals and his home destroyed……..

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But already they are beginning to replant … they have no choice. The UN came, took notes, and never came back. .. The NGO’s did not turn  up. We did, thanks to your support and donation’s … We promised a well and we will drill a well!

We believe Water is a right, we believe life is a right… and we believe water is a right to life. The villagers will replant their fields, slowly… The children will return to a classroom somewhere and the village will find a way back….but not without water. There is no water in the village, 5000 people are relying on trucks to turn up to deliver water sporadically.

We begin to drill this week… We will continuously update with news, pictures etc but we are short of the funds needed to complete……….We are close but still short. Please, on behalf of the villagers of Umm al Nasser, on behalf of Irish in Gaza, on behalf of just 2 people, Derek and Jenny Graham and on behalf of what is left of humanity, do what you can. Donate, if you can, Share, even if you cannot…

 

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Back in Gaza and trying to catch up, but with intermittent electricity and extremely slow internet….So, bear with us please…

 

Firstly. let us tell you about  and thank the beautiful and inspiring

Miss Maisie Green…10685630_798143520228100_689669579_o

 

Apologies to Miss Maisie Green for not posting this sooner a few weeks ago before school started Maisie decided to have a sponsored haircut and this fantastic little girl raised over £700.00 Maisie asked that the money raised be used to help children in Gaza and has donated through IFOPBF to Irish in Gaza £525.00 to help with the build of a well so children can have a fresh supply of water and the remaining balance was donated to IMAP. Maisie has also donated the hair she had cut off to the Princess Foundation who make hairpieces for children diagnosed with various hair loss illnesses. via Irish friends of Palestine, Beal Feirste

 

Maisie, you are an absolute inspiration and a reason for us all to believe in . Your friends and family must be so proud  and we think you are even more beautiful with your new haircut… From the many many young children like you,  that you will now help in Palestine , we thank you so very very much, habibti.. Derek and Jenny

And finally, ( for now) The Sunday after we left Ireland, A run/walk for Gaza was held in Belfast. The walk was organised by Irish friends of Palestine, Beal Feirste and supported by so many more. Hundreds turned up to take part in Solidarity with Gaza and all money donated will go towards the drilling of a well in Umm Al NAsser village in Northern Gaza. For details of the well project please click Here:  http://irishingaza.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/time-to-rebuild-water-for-life/

We offer our absolute gratitude to all those who participated, sponsored, donated and helped in so many other ways…. with a special word of thanks going to Michelle, John, Ann, Philomena, Edel and Bernie…. And of course to Eva and Natasha for your ongoing, never wavering support and for travelling up to Belfast to take part, Well done every single one of you.. Go raibh mile maith agat, Shukran, Thank you so very very much….

Continue below for pictures and video. Pictures credited to Mr. John Mallon.

 

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We are close to reaching our target to complete the first stage of the well project for Umm Al Nasser, but need your support and donations to complete …

To donate please click :http://irishingaza.wordpress.com/donate-urgently-for-gaza/

 

 

 

 

Gaza massacre map…

Click below for a moving set of panoramic pictures of the destruction left behind and no longer spoken about… Never forget……    Gaza massacre map..

 

We have finally managed to get Irish in Gaza T-shirts sorted. Our apologies to those who have been asking for and waiting for them for so long…. We  can take orders for them via paypal with Payment…  For paypal payment .. Click Donate. For those without Paypal,  Email me on jennygraham7@gmail.com or facebook  (jenny Graham) and send private message.

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When ordering by Paypal, please use the reference or message section  to inform us of  name, address, size, colour and quantity. 

T-Shirts are in sizes S, M, L and XL and come in Black or white. They have Handala in front holding an Irish and Palestinian flag and the back has the blog address and both flags again. T-Shirts cost 15.00 euro , ( which includes post and packing) .   All money collected from the sale of the T-shirt’s goes , as always, to projects in Gaza. At this time, the money will go towards the drilling of a well in Northern Gaza.  (Previous post has details)

http://irishingaza.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/time-to-rebuild-water-for-life/

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