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THANK YOU ALL!

Thursday, 13th Novemeber…  And nobody is thirsty in Umm Al Nasser tonight. I am not going to write much, hopefully these pictures will tell you all you need to know… The children smiles as they collect their water….

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The official handover, ( paperwork , certification etc) will be done in the coming days. The water samples have all come back stating healthy , clean water, the pumps are working to full capacity and we, they ,  all of us involved, say a huge thank you to all our friends, family supporters.. Keep it up!

Will post a more in depth blog soon, but for now enjoy the pictures …

To continue to donate, please click :http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

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The excitement in Umm Al Naser is building… The drilling is finished, the drill and the first group of workers have now left and the next group has begun. The storage facility for the plant arrived on site, by truck this morning. The plant itself is now in situe inside.

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The trench is dug for the waste water/sewage pipes and refilled, the electricity is hooked up and everything is shiny and bright and waiting to be switched on.  The commitment to detail and pride in their work is more evident each day, and one wonders as to what would be possible here in Gaza if the proper material s and equipment were allowed in, it is surely not a lack of training that frustrates these men. We are actually hearing disturbing reports of material that has actually entered Gaza, badly needed for reconstruction to homes, being held, inexplicably, in warehouses in Gaza…  such as : http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/world/to-rebuild-gazans-wait-for-aid-already-arrived.html?referrer&_r=0

It is imperative for all of us to continue to pressure our politicians and Governments , and the UN,  to firstly,  allow materials in to Gaza and secondly, to ensure that anything that does arrive is used ! This is not an opportunity for photographs of full warehouses.

 

But, back to Umm Al Nasser.

A new plinth, with interlocking bricks will be put in place for the distribution point tomorrow. The 2 large storage tanks for the water are waiting to be hoisted on top of the building. The actual stand with the taps is to the side waiting to be hooked up. The signage is being worded as we speak, with the Palestinian and Irish flag ready for painting…  then it is again all systems go tomorrow… the engineers are waiting to collect the final samples for taking to the laboratory in the next few days and then…….

Derek’s expertise in electrics was called in to service, so, myself and the younger children dug holes in the sand with spoon’s…. just to show them how it’s done!

 

 

A slow stroll around the village again today, ( stopping of for more sweet tea in several homes) reminded us , if we were ever to forget, just why we are doing this and the smiles and excitement on the children’s faces renewed our vow to come back as often as possible….

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As always, We realize this project and hopefully others is only possible with continued support. Be very proud of what , together , we have accomplished so far. Please continue to support us and Gaza, Palestine … share the blog, spread the word, create awareness  and if at all possible, donate via paypal or direct to bank.

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Another update soon….

 

 

 

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We need your help to complete this project, please read, share and if Possible, Please donate below.

Part 2.

Thursday 23 October… Another milestone reached. This morning, more than 45 metres below ground, we hit Water…

 

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So, The drilling now comes to an end, No more pictures of men below ground throwing out buckets of sand, no spitting and puffing from an old generator and no more listening to the repetitive thud of an old drill forcing open the ground…  It really is the most primitive of equipment, it keeps breaking down, it has been mended more times but it’s all there is, and they manage to use it successfully… obviously. So now, we have water…

 

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Tomorrow, Friday, is a day of rest… Back at it again on Saturday. Next in line is the submersion of the pump which will then feed the water up to a de-salination /filtration system, which is being constructed as we speak and will arrive to the site over the weekend. Once in place, and the water is tested etc, a distribution stand with taps will be erected and water … Fresh, clean, free, deserved water will flow and flow and flow, Insh;allah…

The children of the village are getting more and more excited each day, the numbers of adults strolling over for a look is growing, and therefore the invitations for more sweet tea and coffee, (which is never turned down) also grows….

 

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But this is all part of life, new life, new friends, solidarity between countries, and hope for the future. Although we are ” Irish in Gaza”, and very proud to be,  We are fortunate to have friends and supporters all over the world.

We still need your help, We still need your donations. Your support will benefit more than 5000 people in this one village alone and hopefully much more in the future … Long term , sustainable support in one of the most vital basic human needs, human rights … Water means life.

 

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Please continue to support the project here:  http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

Remember , You can still order t-shirts also;   http://irishingaza.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/irish-in-gaza-t-shirts/

Note to the Irish:, We cordially decline your kind offer to send MR. Tierney  or other members of the Irish water board over to help, The Palestinians have enough problems of their own, Thanks…  ;) 

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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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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/

 

 

 

 

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