I am from a small town in a small strip in a small country – Gaza. I study in a small university. I present a show in a small local media network. I have a small group of friends. I sleep in a small bed in a small room. I empower eight small groups of adolescents and I want to tell you a small secret.
The secrets of everything good in life lie in the small things and watching them growing into bigger, greater things.
Sometimes the big picture conveys the wrong message. You miss the tiny details that are transformative to many. It’s the little things that makes our days. It what makes us forget about the piles of troubles which are weighing heavily on our shoulders.
Why would a three-war survivor like me wear a smile every day? Despite knowing that my cousin still can’t travel to study abroad, and although I say goodbye to him every time we hear a rumour about the crossing point opening.
Why would I tell the students of Kuza’a secondary school that life is glamorous? The school is literally right by the borders. And with all the craziness going around, it’s definitely not a great place to be. For me just walking in that street is terrifying. Yet I go out there every week to spread positivity and help the student develop self-esteem and hope.
In a dark moonless sky, the small stars don’t light up and make the darkness go away. Rather, they make it beautiful to look at and they give you a warm feeling of joy. This makes our people hold onto life, to stay optimistic and hopeful for the coming day. Besieged or not, with or without power cuts, we all have access to the big black mosaic sky above.
After a rainy day, little water swamps pepper our ruined streets like the brown spots on a giraffe. To keep your shoes clean you have to be a frog. Really! Then I see the blue sky reflecting on the puddles and knowing that the sun is working its magic out to evaporate the water – I find out that my positivity can evaporate my worries as well.
Family time is the most important source of support and hope in Gaza. It fuels our passions.
Last week on my way home, I saw something that embodies the simple pleasures and closeness of a Palestinian family in Gaza. At the most favourite place for Gazans – the sea, there was a family of young and old fishing together. I was captivated by their sheer excitement, their hopefulness and their shared pride as they worked together to pull the net out. When everyone is pulling together anything is possible!
It’s not the situation that makes us positive or negative. It’s our perspective to life. If I have learned one thing as a Gazan, it is to embrace life and if you can’t find good things, make them up, imagine them. Thoughts become things eventually!