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For a few hours, life was almost normal

[ 2009.1. 7 ]

Jawad Harb ©CARE

Jawad Harb  (C)CARE

Jawad Harb is a Palestinian living in Rafah, Gaza, with his wife and six children. Harb has worked with CARE since 2002, managing a program supporting women's centres in Gaza. Since the conflict began Dec. 27, Harb's program has stopped operating because of the constant bombing.

an. 7, 2009 - 4:30 p.m., local time
My children are all sleeping. They went to sleep three hours ago, when the bombs stopped for the ceasefire. For three hours, it was totally silent. No bombs. They look so peaceful.

Last night, none of us slept at all. The bombs were falling every five minutes. It was a terrible night. You can't sleep with the war going on.

As soon as the bombs stopped for the ceasefire, the shops in my neighbourhood opened. My neighbours rushed outside to buy food. They ran, because nobody believed that the ceasefire would last the full three hours. They were afraid there would be an airstrike anytime. People bought food - rice, macaroni, cheese, salt, sugar, eggs. These are the only things left in the stores. Food is now very expensive.

We had electricity for four hours today, which means we had water. We washed our clothes, pumped water, and bathed the children. This is the first time I have ever been excited to wash clothing! For a few hours, life was almost normal.

The airstrikes just started again. I can see the smoke through the window, a few hundred metres away. It's right in front of me - black smoke. I am afraid.

With the bombs, it's not what you hear, it's what you feel. It's like an earthquake. The houses is swinging, left to right. It's like an underground wave that moves under the houses. My children are waking up. The ceasefire is over. We will hope again for tomorrow's ceasefire, when we can sleep for a few hours again. It will be another long night.