Friday, October 06, 2006

“…in hundreds of ways during these Ramadan days”

All that remains from a burned out tire is black soot and wire. Black soot is covering Gaza these days. Unhappy, unpaid government workers are making their feelings known. We passed many, many burned out tires. Our apartment has a thin layer of black dust covering everything. Even our towels had a thin layer of dust perched on top.

What a mess. Why is it that Gaza gets into your heart so ?
Even our taxi drive on the way in was an enormous cultural experience. The car was held together by electrical tape. Our driver couldn’t quit muttering…at one point I heard him asking under his breath for just “a little order.” These days that is asking a lot !

Having lived outside of the Strip for nearly three years, I find that I can now see Gaza more as others see her. I am amazed at the dirt and garbage. The three year old that takes the garbage sack out to the dumpster can’t throw it high enough to actually get into the dumpster…so most of the garbage is on the ground rather than inside it ….which is convenient for those who have taken to going through the garbage in order to find anything to eat or sell…in order to buy food.

I wanted to pay the people who got out of their cars to try to untangle the huge traffic jam that we all created this a.m.
(It’s Ramadan, you know) People and cars were literally so tangled up that it took four men stopping cars to get us “a loose.” Electricity is still scarce. Hence, no traffic lights.
Hence the traffic jam. To call it a traffic jam doesn’t really capture the full picture. Cars, trucks, donkey carts and people were so tightly packed that we couldn’t right ourselves.

We foolishly got in the middle of a huge demonstration. I had quite a long time to people watch. Gaza is such a strange paradox. The desperately poor wander amidst meticulously dressed businessmen. I admire them so much. We are awaiting the rains still, so Gaza is horribly dry and dusty. Yet men and women walk down the streets with shiney shoes. I have long since quit dusting mine off. Really now…what’s the point? Well, the point is that honorable men and women look their very best. And indeed they do…look their very best. (I must begin again presenting myself better when among them!)

One of our first friends came to help us today. He told us the tale of his family. His wife literally lost her mind and left him about a year ago. Five mufti’s put their heads together to solve the problem. In the end, our friend has to pay his wife 2,000. j.d.’s !! SHE left HIM and in order for her to return home HE must pay HER. WHAT? She had previously destroyed almost everything they owned so we were happy that we could help them (…I am in a cleaning out mood and the storage room was a disaster. AGAIN. ) How I wanted to tell our friend that he really should trade his religion (his word) for my full and rich relationship with the One True God.
Perhaps tomorrow I can find a way to slip that in…again…when
we are working together again. (a little bit difficult. P and I fasted today whether we intended to or not because we couldn’t eat with our buddy around.) We will find a way to pay him and help his family have a little bit of a happier Ramadan.

Due to clashes between Fateh and Hamas, church services were cancelled. (it is right down town in the area where the clashes were located) So we were privileged today to have our own private worship service. Praying still that the Lord will break into our friends’ lives in hundreds of ways during these Ramadan days.

Posted by HL

1 comment:

Debra said...

What a great job of writing! As I read your post, I could picture the tangle of cars, the donkeys, the garbage, the ever-present layer of black soot, and even the storage room! Especially because I can't be there physically, your word pictures are so precious. Yes, once God puts Gaza and her people in your heart, they can't get out. You and they are in my thoughts and prayers every day. Thank you for your continued service among them.
In His Love,
Debra