Scenes of vast olive groves flash by while driving through the village of Wadi Salqa, Gaza.
The scent of fresh baked bread on the breeze captivates. But few realize what a privilege it is to experience these sensory splendors. The poor and disabled don’t always get to take in the beauty of their village.
“Poverty in this village is rife,” said Abu Hassam, a dedicated community leader. “Villagers depend on welfare assistance which basically consists of flour and cooking oil,” he added.
“My dream is that one day I can to stand on my feet again,” Fathi said.
Across the street, Fathi Abu Moghasib lay on his bed that he had not left for months. He cleared his throat and recited the story of how he became disabled. After a car accident, Fathi was admitted to a hospital for x-rays and testing only to find out that he would never walk again. “What I once took for granted is now a dream for me,” he said.
What Life is Like for People with Disabilities in Gaza
Without a proper wheelchair, Fathi stayed at home bound to his bed most of the time. His wife Suad said the family had no food in their fridge for four months.
One day, Fathi borrowed an electric wheelchair from his neighbor who was undergoing surgery. “It turned out that the wheelchair was broken,” said Suad. “The moment he sat on it, he fell off and had three fractures in his left arm.”
Now Fathi uses a working wheelchair that Anera shipped through a medical relief program for the disabled in Gaza. His wheelchair was one of 100 donated by Wheels to Heel, in partnership with four local community-based organizations.
New Wheels Bring New Views
With the help of his teenage son, Fathi gets on his new wheelchair, and Suad wheels him around their house. “The destruction from war has never deterred me from seeing the beauty of our village,” he said, sitting in one of the destroyed rooms in his house. A small window overlooked trees in the backyard.
When the daytime weather cools off, Fathi’s son, Ahmed, wheels him through the narrow streets of Wadi Salqa. “My favorite sight is the olive groves and I love the scent of baked bread, too,” he said. “Today I’ve seen the light of my village. My dream is that one day I can stand on my feet again.”