Areej, 16.

*Areej lives in Shejaiya, and would like to study nursing when she leaves school. She speaks eloquently about how life in Gaza has changed since the last war, and how the sense of community and family is slowly being eroded by the siege. She was injured in the war and has received treatment from Al Ahli hospital.

 

“We were at home when the missile hit our house during the war last year. Half of the house was destroyed, and we were panicking, trying to get out and run to safety. Our neighbours had come to help us, and as we were fleeing, I was hit by shrapnel – one piece in my hand and one in my leg.

 

I remember feeling very frightened, especially because I was injured from a drone missile, and these come before the F16’s. When I came to I saw the blood and thought I was going to die. After that I passed out from the pain, and woke up in hospital.

 

I was confused when I woke up, thinking ‘how did I get here?’ My nephew was there as well because he had been injured too. I thought my hand was paralysed, although it felt like an electric shock each time someone touched it. I stayed in hospital for 2 days and then went home in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk. Since then I have had physiotherapy to help me walk again, and 3 months ago I had surgery on my arm at Al Ahli. I feel more pain in the winter when it’s cold but its much better than it was.

 

I come for regular check ups here even now, because we have no money to pay for treatment and its free here. The operation was a success and I’m grateful to the staff here.

 

Our home was completely destroyed in the war. We were supported by a local NGO who helped us to rebuild it. We have 4 floors, as I have 4 brothers – two are married and have their own children. One was killed in the war.

 

Before the war in Gaza we were happy, and life was good. But since the war everything has changed. My brothers can only get work as carpenters and tailors, which doesn’t bring in enough money. After the war they had to move away to another place in Gaza because our home was destroyed. Now we are all back together but our sense of family has been lost. We don’t celebrate together anymore, life has changed.”

 

*Name has been changed

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