I was born in the Gaza strip or what some might call the largest open-air prison. I took my first breath at the peak of the second Palestinian Intifada. I grew up surrounded by the siege, shortage of electricity & water, and lack of access to quality education and security. I am 3 wars old now along with many political, economical, and social conflicts. However, the hardest part was to live all this in the absence of freedom.
My usual day begins in the morning by waking up to the sound of drones hovering in the sky. I jump off the bed to do my prayer, then I pick up my phone to check out the news that is usually about the bombing that happened last night including the numbers of victims and injuries. I take a deep breath trying to hold some strength to kick off the day. Then, I try my best to make a plan with work I need to get done today according to the electricity schedule.
That’s why when COVID 19 spread out, it had hit differently for people in the Gaza strip. Gaza had to handle the crisis with only 4 hours of electricity, the poor health system that suffers from the lack of medical equipment, and hospitals’ limited capacity to accommodate the huge number of patients. Lockdown is a second siege for Gazans, as many people depend on daily wages for their living which worsened their economical situations. Additionally, the education system is almost suspended because of the limited fundamental resources to support e-learning for students; such as shortage of electricity, limited access to the internet, as well as unavailability of electronic devices.
When I found out about the Certified Training Program by the World Youth Alliance, I got the chance to read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I got to learn how the human being has to find meaning in the darkest moments in his life as he quoted Nietzsche saying “He who has a ‘why’ to live for, can bear with almost any ‘how‘.” (CTP, P. 101)
Sometimes we can’t change the external conditions around us but we can change ourselves. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” This has given me the power, passion, and motivation to challenge the circumstances and conditions of my own and not to give up easily.
Published: February 9, 2021
Written by Zainab Alramlawi, a WYAMENA Certified Member.