Join the al-Lahham Family for Iftar in Gaza

June 14, 2018 Mohammed Zaanoun, IMEU

Ramadan is a sacred time of year for devout Muslims. The holy month began days after the Israeli military killed 62 protesters in Gaza’s Great Return March. Despite the sorrow over the killings, and despite the ongoing suffering Palestinians in Gaza experience due to the Israeli-imposed blockade, four hours daily of electricity, lack of drinking water, and chronic unemployment — families in Gaza still mark Ramadan with devotion, and with dignity.

The al-Lahham family is one such family. Hani al-Lahham, his wife Umm Ahmad, and their three children (Malak, Ahmad and Salah, ages eight, six and four respectively) live in a tent along Gaza’s seaside. Fifty-seven year old Hani is among the 44% percent of Gaza’s population who is unemployed. He moved his family into the makeshift tent three years ago, when he could no longer afford to pay rent. The thin nylon of the tent does little to protect the family from the elements. Yet, as Umm Ahmad says, she and her husband are determined to raise their children with the utmost care and respect. “It is our children’s right to live like other children, in a safe house that protects them from the winter cold and summer heat, and the howls of dogs which wake them in the night, afraid.”

Ramadan brings some hope to the al-Lahham family. Umm Ahmad is forced to cook iftar (the meal that breaks the daily fast) using scraps of wood that Hani collects from the Gaza city streets — yet Hani and Umm Ahmad gather their children each evening around a table on the sidewalk to break the fast together, as a family. After iftar, they open their family’s tea and coffee shack, in hopes of selling a few warm beverages and earning a few dollars.

“During Ramadan we wait for those who are merciful to help us,” says Umm Ahmad.

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