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Personal Account — Visit to Gaza

“Pontifical Mission acted swiftly to re-establish the clinic when word of its destruction circulated and within a mere few weeks we started re-establishing and furnishing and equipping the clinic and it was in full service a mere 3 months after its destruction” remarked Dr. Abadlah in a very appreciative way as he reminded me of our time limitations and the need to move on. Had I had more time, I would have loved to spend the full day in this place full of life, love and caring. Had I had to leave Gaza at that point, I would have left a very proud man of what my agency has done to relieve the suffering!

Near East Council of Churches — Our Strategic Partner

We were back in the car in the midst of the midday traffic jam heading towards the headquarters of the NECC in Gaza City. I could not help notice the large number of motorbikes on the road. Evidently, with no new cars coming in since the blockade, these forms of transportation became the next best thing, other than mules and donkeys, which could be smuggled in through the tunnels. Once we arrived at the NECC offices, the first thing you see are some damaged remains of a few pieces of equipment pulled from the rubble of the destroyed clinic at Shija’ia — a constant reminder of the brutality of the senseless attack. I could not resist but to ask our host if we can take a photo. At long last I stepped into the office of Mr. Constantine Dabbagh, better known as Abu Su’ad, who is the executive secretary at NECC and our main collaborator in Gaza. Though we never met before, there was this rush to hug and greet each other the traditional Palestinian way. I felt at first sight that we knew each other for a very long time. Finally, and after months of keeping in contact over the phone and via emails, we had a chance to sit across from each other and discuss the challenges and successes. It was a wonderful exchange at the end of which I was taken for an extensive tour of their facilities.

Though we have been subsidizing the operations of the NECC for over 20 years, as I am told by my colleagues in the office, I must admit that I knew very little about their operations other than the three clinics. The tour of the facilities revealed a very vibrant operation that has many training centers and workshops. On the ground floor is a tailoring workshop dedicated to older widowed women to provide the use of equipment free of charge so they can use their skills and earn a living in dignity. The proud look on the faces of these women was very clear.

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