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The drilling begin’s …

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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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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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..

 

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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.

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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Derek and I are heading back to Gaza. We will return with your support as always, but, we need it now more than ever. After the latest barbaric Israeli onslaught on Gaza, we will return to work with our Palestinian friends and “Family” to rebuild. Many of you have asked to help, we promise to work on your behalf to do so.

During this last few weeks , you will have heard the areas, “Beit Hanoun”, “Northern Gaza” Israeli border area” mentioned often. This area has been all but totally destroyed by Israel , the villagers in Umm al Nasser ( Bedouin village) are returning home to start again, but with very little.

Water is a right ! We will work in Umm Al Nasser , with your help , to provide fresh , clean drinking water for the whole village, a basic human right, a vital human right to life. Umm Al Nasser, like most of Gaza are in desperate need of  your urgent help. Access to clean , fresh , free and daily drinking water, is a step towards independance, a belief in a future, a reminder of the support of those fighting for humanity and justice and… it is the least we can do…

Even before our arrival back , We have begun to put in place the provisions needed to do this and this project will begin the moment we arrive . Below is the outline of the project , We will personally guarantee all donations are spent here, we will report regularly with updates, pictures etc.

Below also is a slide show of different aspects of the village, including the beauty of the children who live there, the proximity to the Israeli border, the simplicity of life, the need for provisions and the  tough plastic sheeting  and blankets your donations contributed to after the storms last winter.

We are overwhelmed but not surprised at the outpouring of anger, the support for Palestine, the offers of help over the last few weeks and we believe , together , we can make this project successful and do so very quickly. Please donate what you can, read the blog, share the blog and keep supporting humanity  and justice..

Proposal for Well, Drilling stations etc for Umm al Nasser village, Northern Gaza.   Location: Umm al Nasser village, Gaza strip, Palestine. Umm al Nasser village is a Bedouin village of about 5,000 people situated along the Northern border with Israel. The village receives little or no support from Governmental or Non Governmental associations  and only extremely limited co operation from the United Nations. There is little infrastructure in the village and no independent water supply. The water to the homes must be trucked in from the neighboring town, Beit Hanoun, at a cost. During times of aggression or war, these trucks to not travel to the border areas and therefore the village are regularly without access to clean drinking water.

Proposed Project outline:

We propose to drill a well in the centre of the village.   We have spoken with the mayor of the Municipality, and they are prepared to donate the land for the installations free of charge for the project. A de-salination plant/ filtration plant would also need to be installed. We would erect a drinking water station next to the well with a number of storage tanks, taps etc to provide constant clean drinking water.

Depending on fund’s , We also would pipe the water directly to a drinking water tank erected in the primary school of the village.  This way, we are ensuring the school children have access to clean drinking water daily. As we will need to install the pipe work to the school, we propose to erect the second distribution station outside the school, enabling the residents of this section of the village to access the water also.

We appreciate any and all donations, support and help offered. Paypal button   on donate page or click here:     To  Donate, click here..…………….Donate

or contact jennygraham7@gmail.com , Shukran, Thank you

We also have Irish in Gaza t-shirt’s ( finally) for sale…  Click:http://wp.me/psaGo-1ck

 

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Waiting for Godot (and no kiss goodbye)

Derek’s story continues…

Monday 16th.

No move on the border today we have been told 100% that only pilgrims will pass. That doesn`t mean we`re not trying, we are still calling every one we know and pulling in any favors we can. So we have been guaranteed that we can leave tomorrow first thing. The funeral arrangements are made, removal on Wednesday and burial on Thursday after 11 o`clock mass. This is ok if we get out and get to Cairo airport,  there is a flight at 4 in the morning and we will get into Dublin at 10.30, that means we can be in Ballina by 2 o`clock in time for the removal.

Tuesday 17th

Didn`t get much sleep between my mind racing and listening to the Israeli’s shooting at the fishermen. We got up at 6 and just sat around waiting for the bus to arrive. We were on the road just after 8 and got to Rafah at quarter to 9. All ready for the day or so we thought, we got there and there was 1000`s all trying to get out. Everybody trying to get past the first gate, if you get past the first gate you have a good chance of getting across. It is getting worse and worse every time the border opens. Previously it would open once every 2 weeks now it is once every 4 to 5 weeks. So when it does open people are more desperate to get out. Some of the scenes today were very distressing, women and children crying, men screaming.

We tried to pass and were told wait 5 minutes, first bad sign of the day because 5 minutes means 1 maybe 2 hours. Panic starts to set in because sometimes the Egyptians open the border for 2 hours and then shut it for no reason. All I can do is start making phone call to everyone I know. After an hour or so of calling people I got a call back to say that the official that deals with the foreigners will come down to the gate in 5 minutes (1-2 hour).It was like that play “Waiting for Godot”. He arrived at 1 o`clock, 2 and a half hours later and told all the internationals that they can`t leave today, we can got tomorrow at 9 o`clock guaranteed. At this point I started to lose it and told him, quite loudly, that we were guaranteed to leave today and that this was an emgency, all the rest of the international understood our situation and agreed for Jenny and myself to pass and they would remain. The official agreed to see what he could do and would call the Egyptian side just for 2 people to pass.

After he left I sat down by myself and the realization of what was happening started to hit me, I was going to miss the removal and would not be able to kiss Mam goodbye and would never see her again. Have you ever had that sick feeling in your stomach of hopelessness, well double that. Looking around I could hear and see so many other people in the same sick situation and sick situation is the only way to describe it. Begging and pleading to be allowed to do what everyone else takes as a God given right to be treated like a human being and be allowed to travel freely. Shame on the world for allowing this to happen and for turning a blind eye to it.

40 minutes later the official came back and said no way any international are crossing today not even us two. At this point my heart was broken into 100 pieces. I missed Mam passing, I`m missing the wake tonight ( mam is been waked in the house tonight) and I will miss the removal.

I had held it together all day and on the way back to Gaza my sister called, that’s when I lost it and turned into a blubbering mess. Maria calmed me down and we chatted about what to do next. She told me this is all happening for a reason and we might not know what the reason is right now but it will all be clear later. I hope so because it isn`t making any sense right now. It`s now over 2 week since we first started trying to get out, many Palestinians have spent their whole lives trying to get out and I wouldn`t say it`s making much sense to them either.

 

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