Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Nana's Christmas wish

Haneen Abo Soad | 24-12-2017


Nana was born on the 14th of December, 2014. She is smart and spontaneous. I love her smile and her weird dance moves. She has a strong will. She loves to watch videos of kids playing and dancing.

She once watched a video of a girl dancing ballet, then insisted on learning it. I watched the video and taught her how to do a tiny bit of it. She tried to stand on her small toes, just like the girl in the video, but fell over. Still, Nana kept trying. She was happy, smiling all of the time. Her eyes radiated happiness. But she said, “Mum, you’re not a professional. I want to go to a class just like the one I saw on the video.”

I told her we don’t have such classes in Gaza. She understood, but hasn’t given up on her dream.

In the summer of 2016, loud Israeli planes flew in the sky above us. She was frightened by the noise, and as she lay in bed she asked, "Why won’t that noise leave the sky? I want peace when I sleep! And why is the electricity always off?”

Then suddenly, she got up and said, “I want to close my eyes and make a wish!”

I told her she could and she did: "I wish for electricity from when I wake up until I go to bed. I wish for peace. And I wish for a pink car!"

I smiled and said, "God will make it right as He always does.”

When Nana turned 4 years old, her dad threw her a small party. She demanded one and wouldn’t accept no for an answer. She is her father’s girl, so he said yes. She loves him so much, and he loves her too. They have their own special bond. He used to bathe her when she was a baby and they played a lot together. When he comes home, she stays by his side. She wakes up at night and continues her sleep on his side of the bed. For her birthday, he gave her a doll called Masha, and a little board on which to write her wishes. She was ecstatic.

Two days later, she watched a YouTube video of Santa handing out presents to children. She was spellbound. Nana asked me to look at this someone called Santa, giving gifts to children. She wanted to be there to receive one. I knew I shouldn’t, because we don’t have money to buy presents, but I told her maybe she would get her wish if she was a good girl and listened to mummy, tidied up her room and was good to people.

After a couple of days, she complained that all of the other kids at school received presents from Santa. I still didn’t want to put a cloud over her future by admitting our poverty, so I took a deep breath and told her we didn’t believe in Santa.

She became annoyed and said, "What does it have to do with belief? I want a gift and a glistening tree like the one in the video!”

Nana marched off to her room, wishing Santa would come and make her wishes come true. I ran after her, grabbed a prayer rug and told her to pray to God to fulfill her wishes. He is the only one capable of doing so.

She did, but to this day, Nana is hoping for a glistening tree and a present from Santa.

Posted: December 23, 2017

Mentor: Mohammed Massoud Morsi

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