27 November 2005

Face to face

Me and my son had another day out on our own again! We had a long walk through the city. The weather was nice and hot. This time I gave the camera to my 6 years old little boy and this is what he noticed. Here's me starting off our walk in our neighbourhood.
A flower shop. He liked all the colours.
A three. There are not that many of them here in Gaza, so my son noticed this one.
Well, you can tell he's a real swedish patriot. A VOLVO TRUCK! Of course, he had to take a picture of that one! Notice the donkey coming up beside it.
Here's a roundabout. He thought the man resting on a stone near this busy street looked funny.
The entrance of an apartment building. Almost ready.
A busy street beside a University.
The inside of a beautiful mosque.
Mummy having a mango juice in the park in front of Al Azhar University.
To end the story of our day out I would like to tell you what happened as we passed this mosque. You might see just behind the red van the shape of a woman in black sitting outside of the mosque. She's begging for money. It is strange how you've become used to that image. We passed her. Another woman was sitting on the other side of the mosque, having a child in her knee. We passed her too, as she was calling out to us, begging for mercy. Having passed her my son said to me "Why don't you give her money?". I couldn't come up with any good answer. I took out my wallet from my handbag, thinking first to give her some coins. Then I thought, why not give her a twenty, she will be really happy. Not having any twenties in my wallet, I thought, well, why not give her a hundred. She sure need the money more than we do. I let my son run back to her and give her the money. Upon recieving them she pointed to her heart and to the sky as to say "Allah is surely great". We walked on feeling very happy about what we just had done. After a while I heard somebody following us and calling out for us. It was the woman. I thought she had come to thank me. She told me that her husband had died and that she had no other family. She had four children. Her son who looked like 4 or 5 years old stood beside her. Their clothes we're torn and very dirty. She seemed to be begging me for money, I couldn't understand all what she said, and I felt so sad that she wasn't pleased with the hundred I had given her. After she insisted for a while I told her "but my son gave you money, didn't he?". Then she said "No, that wasn't me. It was the other woman!". Then I realized that there had been TWO women sitting at the mosque's two entrances and that the woman who recieved the money first had gone to tell her friend, and the friend came running after me. Of course my heart gave me no choice but to also give her a hundred. A hundred is not a lot to me, but a lot to them. She was so happy and thankful. She kissed me and blessed me and my children.
Coming face to face with poverty in that way really makes you think. With a very little effort I could change that woman's life and the life of her children. What if I was to collect money to let her children go to a good school, to buy them clothes, to bring them money for food?
I encorage all of you to go out today to face poverty. Give to somebody who really need it. Don't wait.


Judy said...

Imaan, this is a beautiful post, with some really lovely images.

You told that story of the women so touchingly-- that's the generosity of your heart and your spirit.

The fact that your son urged you to give to her is a great credit to your success in bringing him up in the spirit of Islam.

The word you have for charity "zakat" and that of our tradition in Hebrew "tzedakah" show how we are branches from the same tree.

Your son's also developing a great photographic eye. I hope you find a way to give him a camera of his own as soon as possible. I think children's photographs are very special, and we should encourage them to be photographers in the same way we encourage them to be readers and writers.

Thanks for this lovely post.

UmJannah said...

May Allah have a great reward for you sister.

lisoosh said...

It always shocks me how much poverty there is here in the States, the richest country in the world. Where I live you can find million dollar homes housing couples two streets away from a motel where whole families share a single room and children go hungry.

Anonymous said...

The post and the photos are beautiful.

I noticed that there appears to be a great deal of construction going on in your photos. Is that just your area or is that in Gaza in general?

Imaan On Ice said...

Gaza in general!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a blanket here. You didnt change the life of the 2 women, rather you gave them temporary reprieve.

Perhaps tomorrow or a few days later, they will be begging on the streets again. Is there a problem for widowed women to find work in Gaza?


Imaan On Ice said...

I didn't say I changed their life, I said with a very little effort I COULD change their life, meaning if I kept them in mind for years to come giving money on a regular basis.
Pls, I'm not THAT naive.
It is a problem for anyone to find a job in Gaza, unemployment is very high.

Imaan On Ice said...

I didn't say I changed their life, I said with a very little effort I COULD change their life, meaning if I kept them in mind for years to come giving money on a regular basis.
Pls, I'm not THAT naive.
It is a problem for anyone to find a job in Gaza, unemployment is very high.

Cathryn Mataga said...

Hey, you have a very interesting website. These photos are great. I like these scenes of Gaza, just walking around and looking at stuff.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Assalamaliakum, Imaan. I live in poor country, many beggars...they come to our gates, to shops, they sit on the pavements.

What do we do? Do we give them money? And then they continue begging? Or do we find them jobs?

I give them money, even though deep down I think, why don't they work, why don't they find jobs? I'm also sad for them, angry too. [I never have black and white thoughts about most things.]

In wealthier countries, when people don't have jobs, there is dole.

People here without jobs have no dole. They depend on the charity of others.

UmJannah said...

Having a job isn't always an end to living in Poverty. In the United States alone there is a great majority overlooked and they are the "working poor", people who work full time jobs, and still fall below the poverty level. Giving charity is a great thing to do, its an obligation that we have upon us as humans to give charity to help other humans who are (for what ever reasons) less fortunate then ourselves. Nevermind about can't the poor woman find a job, just help with out shaking that condisending finger at anyone. Its hard enough to find a job in the great old USA, never mind occupied Gaza. Who ever posted that comment needs to pay more attention to whats happening in this world.

Skylark said...

This picture of the beatiful mosque is from the Islamic University of Gaza,How could you pic it Imaan?

Anonymous said...

asslamu alaikum,I also live in Gaza, andI don't favor to give money to people begging in the streets, I prefer to have them go to the mosques and ask for money and to make sure they are really in need. Some people do this for a living where others try to make money.
I enjoyed your pictures they are very familliar to me......