51-year-old Palestinian from Ramin, Tulkarm.
I was born on the first day of the occupation, in 1967, and since then we have been living in this hard situation.
My father… I didn’t see him. He didn’t have a chance to work in Palestine so he moved away to Germany until he died. I needed to continue with my life so I got married, had a family and God give me something – he gave me five kids.
My kids did well in school and finished High School with high marks and they want to go to universities. I don’t have enough money for the university in my country so I work different kinds of jobs – I work in the olive trees, I work in the almond trees, I work in the factories of Tel Aviv. I also worked as school teacher.
My house is not too far from the place I work – just seven minutes. But to reach my work, it takes 12 hours. I have a family, they have Eid and special days. They want me to stay with them, to laugh with them, to cry with them, but I can’t. Why? I don’t have permission to go there. So I need to go around. It’s the most amazing thing when you can see your house but you can’t talk to anybody for 30 days, 60 days, because if I want to go back home, I can’t come back to work. I need to stay in the job.
Live where? Nobody give us a house or a car. We are living in the mountains, under the trees. It’s not easy to live like this. We can’t move. They don’t have enough jobs so we need to look around, but nobody gives us a chance. Not in Jordan, not in Kuwait – they kicked us out in 1991. Jordan they have enough people. Lebanon, Syria, the area around us? No chance.
This is our situation and we pray to our God to live in peace and to send our kids to school, to give them a new life, not the life we have.
Sometimes my friends ask me ‘why did your face get old so quickly?’ Why? I am working 17, 18, 19… sometimes 21 hours a day under the sun and living in stress. When I go to the doctor and ask him to refresh my face or something like that, he says “You need to rest, not to get nervous!” Not to get nervous! When living this life?
My skin is like the skin of the olive tree, and olive trees are holy for us. They are like part of the family – they suffer with us.