“A Day in the Life Of: One Day in Gaza” was hosted by Asmaa Shbeer, in association with MCC’s Center for Global Tolerance, on March 4 at MCC. Shbeer spoke of the importance of education, traditional food of modern Gaza and some effects of the war.
While public schooling is free in Gaza, the schools are massively overcrowded and as a result education comes in shifts.
Students go to school for only half of the day, either in the morning or the afternoon.
Despite the little time in the classroom, education is taken very seriously.
“A teacher is like a prophet. A prophet teaches the heart and a teacher teaches the mind,” Shbeer said.
With students attending in shifts, lunch is most often eaten at home.
Food is a very important aspect of life in Gaza and kept very traditional.
Almost everything is fresh and organic. Most homes have gardens that families eat from regularly.
“(People) don’t eat processed or unhealthy food,” Shbeer comments.
One of the most traditional main dishes is Maqlooba; an upside down “casserole” of vegetables, rice and meat, usually lamb.
A re-occurring theme is stuffed food. “You can stuff anything and everything with meat and rice,” assures Shbeer. “Grape leaves, celery leaves, carrots, turnips,anything.”
Two types of coffee in Gaza are Turkish coffee, most commonly served, and Arabian coffee.
Arabian coffee is usually only found in Arabic countries as it is very expensive and takes an entire day to brew before being transferred into a traditional coffee pot.
Although the Israeli troops withdrew in May of 1994, the war and hardships have not ended in Gaza.
According to Shbeer, “because of the surge there is no gas at all,” and transportation has reverted to walking, biking, wagons, and even riding mules.
Bombs are exploding daily, sometimes within hours of each other in the same location.
Houses have bars on windows and patios are completely closed in to prevent theft.
Shbeer’s own mother had her garden robbed a few weeks before the event.
Shbeer states, “People don’t need money or food, they need a safe place.”
The Center for Global Tolerance will be holding another “A Day in the Life Of” event on Vietnam on April 4 at 9 a.m. in the SW Studies Reading Room at MCC.