Two weeks ago, I met with Hamsa and Iman, both looking very stressed and quite worried about their coming baby. It was Iman’s first, she quite young, and Hamsa had spent all of his hard-earned money on medications and vet fees for his ill horse, which he used for his work collecting plastics for re-sale.
He had no idea how he would manage the doctor’s fees, and was very concerned about Iman’s health and the expected baby’s health. Iman, aside from being just 16, is a petite woman. I could understand Hamsa’s concern.
I made a call-out to supporters in the UK, and was further contacted by a Canadian supporter, all who wanted to cover Iman’s medical fees and baby-related costs. Hamsa again was astounded.
I worry sometimes that he might believe this help will always exist, and that for some reason we won’t be here. Realistically, this is a valid worry. And I’ve conveyed to Hamsa not only that our financial presence in his life is limited, but also that there are many in Gaza who need support. Hamsa, always a dignified man, immediately corrected my worries: “I only want to work. I have the horse, I was working, the horse got ill.” Of course, he went on about how grateful he was for this support, and I know he’s speaking from the heart.
I knew already that Hamsa only wanted to work, to earn enough money to live very, very modestly in their uncomfortable box-room home. He hasn’t lost his drive, and even while his horse was ill, he continued his work collecting resellables.
Just six days ago, Hamsa called to say Iman had delivered a healthy, ‘tall’ baby boy, named ‘Ali’ after Hamsa’s father. Indeed, Ali does have long legs (I’d interpreted tall as big for his age but in fact, were he upright, he would be tall…for a six day old).
Today I finally found the time to catch a taxi over to Iman and Hamsa’s cement block home off Zarka street, just outside Gaza city.
It was stifling inside. Hamsa apologized for the heat, saying “we have a fan…but the electricity cut.”
Iman’s mother and sister were there, Ali was being cradled, rocked, fed, adored. Hamsa glowed with the pride of a new father.
Welcome to this world, baby Ali. We pray it will be a better one for your generation, that justice will come to Palestinians, that you will live with the rights Palestinians have been robbed of for too many decades.
*Iman, a beautiful new mother.
*Hamsa’s mother, pleased to be a new grandmother.