Abu Mahmoud’s heart

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Abu Mahmoud’s taxi stinks of petrol and barely made it up a gentle slope the other day.

He was thrilled when some of us hopped out and readied to push the car. Or perhaps mortified. “Get back in, it’s okay,” he’d said.

Miraculously, his car did start, after several stalled efforts.

He picked us up again tonight, passing by chance at the right time. I didn’t recognize him or the beat-up car (too many beat-up cars in Gaza), but I recognized his heart.

Of all the gaudy but endearing decorations I’ve seen in Palestinian taxis (and on motorcycles), this is one of my favourites.

In the low night light it was difficult to get a good photo of Abu Mahmoud’s heart. After I had spent too long trying, he offered his heart to me.

But, I told him it’s better in your taxi and took his phone number instead, in case he doesn’t again pass at the right time.

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