Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gazi Camp in Jordan

Gazi camp for Palestinian refugees

This is a camp full of maybe 1,000 Palestinian refugees. I think millions of Palestinian refugees arrived in Jordan around 1950, and they were all given Jordanian citizenship. But the people in Gazi camp maybe came a few decades later, so they do not have Jordanian citizenship.

The camp is really poor. There's a lady called Sofia there who tries to coordinate relief efforts. She said that the people in the camp don't actually get running water except for once every 3 weeks, and even then, the water flow is weak, and the water is dirty and full of bugs. As far as I was able to gather, since Gazi camp is not comprised of Jordanian citizens, the Jordanian government doesn't necessarily take responsibility for providing a good water supply. To them, it is the responsibility of the UN. But I'll get the real reason (maybe) is that neither the UN nor the Jordanian government has money to drill a water system.

People in the camp have tanks that store the little water they get. Or, if a family has money, they can buy water from a private company and fill up their tank that way.

Well-to-do Jordanian families contact Sofia and ask: who are the orphans in the camp, or the kids with no father, and how can we help them?

Then, Sofia keeps a list of every time a family receives help, so that she is able to distribute things as fairly as she can. You can buy your adopted family lunch or dinner, or school clothes for the kids, or maybe even pay for them to fill their water tanks with clean water from the private companies. Or you can buy baby formula for their babies.

There's an UNRWA school at the camp that the children attend.

The camp is just outside of the city of Jerash, where you can find lots of archaeological ruins. It is less than an hour from the capital, Amman. Young people from Amman from time to time gather up money, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, and buy presents for kids at the camp, or cater a dinner for them. But the problem is that there's hundreds of kids at the camp, so it's hard to invite everyone.

One time, a group of young people from Amman hosted a Ramadan dinner for about 50 kids at the camp. The same group of young people came back a few weeks later, and in the desert heat, during a water-prohibited Ramadan day, cleaned out the camp school. The school was full of glass and trash that they swept out.

Just a few days after all that hot, sweaty work, a group of camp boys came and wrecked the school all over again. They went and broke glass everywhere. It is believed that those boys are amongst those who did not get to attend the Ramadan dinner, so they were mad about that.

A lot of the girls at the camp get married young, and then have baby after baby after baby - even in cases where the mother has no money, no income, no milk, no water even, to care for that baby. I think there is a lack of birth control at the camp, and also I think the girls believe they have to serve their husbands all the time, even the ones who are beating them up.

For example, there is a lady there whose husband beats her up. Then he abandons the family and all his kids. Then he comes back for a while. Then he abandons them again. Well, in the brief period of their reuniting, the wife becomes pregnant with child number 8. But the husband doesn't care. Word is that he has now supposedly left the family for good to go live with a new wife in Amman. Ewwww. What kind of stupid woman is his latest bride?

When the first wife delivered her eighth baby, her little seven-year-old son helped find the taxi and took her to the hospital!

And the oldest 13-year-old boy works at least during the summer.

I don't think that the newest baby girl (child number 8) has anything like diapers. She just lies in her leaking bundles and blankets.

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