When the war started in 2014 I was living in the West of Gaza on Jalla Street. The situation with my daughter is this. On the first day of the Eid, my wife and children went to visit her father in Beach Camp. At around 4:00 pm or thereabout my wife called me. There were voices all around her. The first sentence that she said was “My father is dead”.
She told me what she saw him killed by a rocket from the balcony of his home. I asked her, where are the children. She said that all of them are with me but Dima is not with me. I started to look for my daughter who was seven years old. When I didn’t find her I went to Shifa hospital to look for her.
After two hours I found her in the X-Ray area. Coming out of the Morgue for the third time I saw a doctor I knew. He was crying and I was convinced that my daughter was dead. He took me into a room and I saw my daughter. She hadn’t been identified and “unknown” was written on her stomach. She had been severely injured. A piece of shrapnel had gone through her head, entering from the back and exiting from the front. The doctors assessment was that she should be brain dead.
Because of my connections in Ramallah I was able to get my daughter transferred for treatment in the Mar Yousef Hospital in Jerusalem after only two days. If I didn’t have those connections it might have taken several months to get her outside. She spent 51 days in the hospital. I couldn’t get a permit to accompany her, so my mother accompanied her during her treatment.
The doctors were all surprised by her improvement during her time at the hospital. She has returned to school but requires physical therapy and extra help. This is difficult in our current situation. If we were in our home I could rely on family to help with my children, but because we are not in our own home I can’t rely on my family and I must spend more time helping my daughter than I spend on her siblings.
Her therapy now must be paid from our pocket and not from insurance. In the first period after her injury some organizations gave us assistance by providing specialist care and medicine, but now after time it isn’t enough and doesn’t continue.
Receiving care is also a problem. Here in Gaza care is limited. When she was in Bethlehem there was an organization that provided good care, but we can’t receive permits for her to continue this care. The situation here is terrible. There are not doctors or hospitals that are qualified to help.
We had visas to Turkey to get care for Dima when she was in Jerusalem. Her grandmother was going to travel with her, but Israel refused to give them permits to leave through the bridge to Jordan so they could travel. Even now, if we wanted to get treatment for her in Israel or the West Bank neither my Wife or I could get permits to travel with her, and now my mother is too old to travel. I have tried to leave to Turkey or other places through Egypt but can’t get the permits needed. She was also offered treatment in Germany, but we wouldn’t be able to travel with her. She would have to be in Germany for a year and a half without anyone. I refused this, I couldn’t send her for so long with nobody to accompany her.
When Dima returned to school during the second semester of the year I took her in a wheel chair. She spent one full semester out of school. When she returned to school her classroom was located on the second floor. I coordinated with the school and they moved the whole class downstairs to make sure she could go to school. The school also provided her with help. Now she is at the top of her class. She got 92% on her tests.