Palestine Chronicle correspondent in Gaza, Mahmoud Ajjour, spoke with Mohammed Jamal A’ram, 25, who sells balloons in the streets of Gaza City. A’ram’s business received several blows in the last two years.
First, Israel increased the restrictions on balloon exports to Gaza as a result of the Great March of Return. Then, the COVID-19 lockdown made it impossible for him to sell his only product to the children of the besieged Strip. But things are looking up for A’ram, as the ongoing celebration of what many Palestinians perceive to be a victory over the Israeli military in its latest war on the Strip is making the young man’s balloons once again popular in the Rimal neighborhood.
The Palestine Chronicle caught up with A’ram. This is what he told us:
“I am single. I live with my parents. I am 25 years old. I am trying to raise money to get married. I am a balloon salesman, I can’t find any other job. Even the balloons are now hard to find because of Israeli restrictions. Children love balloons, the moment a child gets hold of a balloon, she gets a huge smile on her face. Simple things make children very happy.
“I work every single day for many hours, days in which I don’t work I have no income, and sometimes have no money for food. When the war started, I stayed home, we were all very stressed out, not only because of the war outside, but also because we ran out of money. The war destroyed so much in Rimal, the entirety of Al-Shrouq tower, many shops and businesses. With the shops gone, people stopped coming here. Very few families are now roaming the streets to buy my balloons. But thanks to God, business is picking up again.
“I am back, and I am hopeful that the future is better. At the end of the day, there is nothing to this life but surviving with dignity. I will do my best.”
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)
(The Palestine Chronicle)