Archive for March, 2014

REPOSTING , 09-09-2014

OK Good folk’s, I am begging again, You have all been amazing in your support for our project in Gaza, ( and please keep sharing and donating) but our beautiful butterfly babies, ( link below) need your help pretty quickly. We are 2,000 euro short to pay their school fee’s for the 2014/2015 year Can anyone help?? … Please, check out the link below to read about these beautiful children who suffer from Epidermolysis bullosa , other wise know as Butterfly syndrome. If you can help, please use the paypal link on www.irishingaza.wordpress.com and reference it as ” Children”…. Thank you…

Violin interpretation of "Ferdinand the bull"

Violin interpretation of “Ferdinand the bull”

On A Saturday afternoon, Our small apartment on the 11th floor is filled with music and laughter, balloons, shwarma, ice cream, new friends old friends and smiling , beautiful children. Our guest of honour, is the amazing violinist, Christian, who has come to play a violin interpretation of the classical tale of “Ferdinand the Bull” Our audience consists of some very special children who suffer from a rare skin disease known as Epidermolysis Bullosa ( Sometimes known as Butterfly Children as their skin is described as being as fragile as a butterfly’s wing’s, but I think it is because they are just as beautiful as a butterfly).. follow their blog from Gaza here:


The children, Fahad, Reema, Rewan, Islam and Hazim along with some of their siblings and other family members came to listen to Ferdinand the Bull. They sat giggling on the floor and sofa’s until the music and story began. With each note, the children became more enthralled, the violin enticing them  more and more in to the story,  With Christian interacting with the children, waiting for their response, the giggling subsided and within moments, each child was lost in his wonderful music. There was no more difference between the 5 sick children and all the others, as the story , the music , joined hearts and minds and childhood.


Epidermolysis bullosa

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is an illness that causes the skin to be fragile. Because the skin is so fragile, it can be easily injured, causing painful blisters to form. These blisters can cause serious problems if they become infected. Some people with EB have a mild form of the disease with few blisters. For others, there may be many blisters on the skin. Some people develop blisters inside the body—in places such as the mouth, stomach, esophagus EB skin is never able to ever heal properly with normal strength: chronic open wounds and extensive scarring develop with attendant pain. Each time EB skin is damaged, the damage is irreversible, and disfigurement and disability accrue over a lifetime. Some severe forms of EB are fatal in infancy; others in older children and young adults. The chronic wounds of EB can result in decreased mobility owing to pain and the extensive scar tissue that forms. Scarring in turn results in constriction of the mouth or throat, or ‘mitten’ deformities of the hands and feet: benefits of surgery to release fingers, for example, are of limited duration as scar tissue starts to form again immediately. For some types of EB, the internal mucosa is also affected: nutrition can be compromised, resulting in osteoporosis, and general failure to thrive: quite young children can depend on gastrostomies or require highly specialised diets. A type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), is a major cause of death for recessive dystrophic (RDEB) teenagers and young adults: surgery, radio- or chemotherapy are not effective. It is particularly aggressive and invasive in EB patients and the need is to prevent development or slow the spread.


IN GAZA… Here in Gaza, a lack of fresh, unsalted, un polluted water to clean the children’s wounds adds to an already extremely painful, crippling and often fatal illness. A shortage of bandages to cover exposed and open wounds, and a dire shortage of funds exacerbates the pain the children go through on a daily basis, but despite all this, these are some of the sweetest, friendliest children we have the pleasure of knowing.

In Gaza, there is now a small association helping the children and families effected by EB,  thanks to  Daniela Riva and her determination to fight for the children and her undeniable love for each of them.

An association from Italy, Debra Italia, part of the Debra International group, are assisting with some of the medical needs for the children, sending delegations of Doctors to perform surgery at times on some of the children, The local association try to have different activities for the children, days at the beach, parties etc to give the children a social side and a chance for interaction with other children. Some of the children have now started school. They each attend clinics regularly to change bandages, have treatment, physiotherapy etc.

These children, Fahad, Reema, Rewan, Islam and Hazim have never known a day without pain. On this day alone, Fahad could not walk due to new large blisters on his feet, Hazim came to the party direct from Shifa hospital after having a new, infected blister bandaged on his fore arm, but through daily adversity, they smile, always , they smile, laugh and humble those of us honoured enough to know them. Reema struggled to her feet to take centre stage and sing a song, Islam , supported by Dani, insisted on joining in with the dancing and Rewan mingled, chatted and posed for the pictures.


But , on this Saturday,  in the company of Ferdinand the Bull, they were just children………

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If you would like more information on the Association in Gaza or would like to donate to the children, just contact us here and we will put you in contact with Daniela or the Association members.

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So, Finally  3 weeks and 2 days  after leaving Ireland, We managed to return to Gaza. After spending one week in Cairo we moved to El Arish  as it was reported the border would be open the following day.  We ended up spending a further 2 weeks in El Arish.

From 6 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. each day in El Arish, all forms of communication are cut off, phone lines, mobiles and internet  by the military ( who are very visible at all times ) . Friends in Gaza would try to stay in contact, with regards to the following days information on the crossing, either late the night before or very very early the next morning.

In the end we were able to cross when it opened for 2 days to allow pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia to cross.  Although we are delighted to finally be back in Gaza, It is utterly disgraceful that we, as Irish citizens who chose to live in Gaza ( and are very lucky to do so) should be allowed to enter while Palestinians are still denied the right to return home via the Rafah crossing ( or indeed any other crossing) .The border has now been closed to “regular” passage for more than one month now  with catastrophic consequences. A baby boy has died as he waited for the border to open so he could receive medical treatment in Turkey, and sadly this is just one story of many…( details  of the story ) http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=681338

Gaza is in the midst of a thunder and lightening storm. Cold , wet and windy, we could be back in Ireland but  for the threat of a large scale Israeli attack . After 3 of its members were killed by the occupation forces, Islamic Jihad fired up to 130 rockets towards Israel, who retaliated over the next 2 nights. At least 29 airstrikes took place North and South Gaza.

You can read a summary of the last few days here: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/bombards-multiple-airstrikes.html

All crossings in to and out of Gaza are now shut tight, including the goods crossing at Karem Shalom. Because of this, the sole power plant in Gaza has now run out of fuel again and is to close tonight. This means Gaza will again be back to 12 hours with out electricity and 6 hours on.

Gaza power plant closes! ( click below for details)


But, we are back! We will take a trip to  Umm Al Nasser in the next few days and update you all on the village and how they are all doing. We will fill you in on our plans for the next few months in Gaza and as always keep you updated on any and all occurences.

You should also check out a new blog available.

“Kathleen and Gillian are paramedics who work on emergency ambulances in England and New Zealand respectively. Both have previously been involved in human rights work at home and abroad, including the West Bank.

They arrived in Gaza in March 2013 with the following hopes and aims:

– To learn more about the health care structure and situation in Gaza, both for health workers and people accessing care.

– To build links and solidarity between Gazan health care workers and their colleagues abroad.

– To understand the impact of Israeli attacks and the continuing blockade on the Gazan health care system.

– To provide specialist pre-hospital training to ambulance workers and others, if needed.

– To bring desperately needed medical supplies across the border, donated by friends and health care professionals from New Zealand, the UK and others.

– To meet ambulance workers and other health care workers, to hear about their working conditions and the challenges they face.

-To work in the pre-hospital environment where possible, and contribute our specialist skills as best we can.

This blog hopes to act as a small window into the health situation in Gaza, and will be updated as frequently as possible.”

Check them out at     http://paramedicsingaza.org/

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