Messages from Gaza Now – November/December 2023 – Suffocating Traffic Jam

Suffocating Traffic Jam

Thousands in the streets of the market.   As far as you can see, there are heads and bodies jamming and closing the way.  Walking between the people in Nuseirat camp which had a population of 35,000 people and now has an extra 150,000, is exhausting and annoying. It seems as if most of them have agreed to meet each other in the market; young men and young women, children, adolescents, boys and girls…

Women, men, children, the elderly with and without walking sticks, some in wheelchairs. Pregnant women, women carrying their nursing babies.  Young men and women bumping into each other, walking up and down…some carry on walking in silence.  The smell of perspiration comes from them. No exaggeration. No-one complains about anyone else.

Including me. Like them, I have no chance to wash everyday.  Water is scarce. 

The market street is itself dirty.  No one clears away the rubbish from the shops.  It piles up day after day, emitting all sorts of smells.  All of them are harmful.  I think many diseases will start to appear. 

People have started to sell the contents of their houses, reckoning that others might need them.  An old mattress, used clothes, worn out shoes…some people are more creative.

Nearby there is a man who sells chickens.  When there is no electricity for him to run the machine that cleans the chickens, he lights a fire on which he puts a big pot of water.  He kills and cleans the chickens by hand and puts them in the boiling water for a few minutes and then plucks the feathers and goes out into the middle of the market. No one minds. No one blames anyone else.  There are no alternatives.