Zaina and Qamar

My name is Zaina [on the right]. I’m seven years old. I’m in the first grade at Kortoba school. I fasted for the first time this Ramadan, for one day. I felt hungry, so I stopped. I like cats, and I like birds because they can fly everywhere without any borders. Today, I bought new clothes and sandals for Eid [the celebration which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan]: a pink tee-shirt, white pants and new sandals. I have a friend named Hannan, whom I play with everyday. Tomorrow, we will go to the park to climb around. I want people to know I am clever.

I am Qamar [on the left]. My name means moon. I am six and I have two sisters. We live in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. We were living in Jordan, but I like it better here. Here, I can spend beautiful time with my grandmother. I like sheep. I finished kindergarten, so next year I’m so excited to go to primary school. My favorite thing to learn about is numbers. I can count to ten in English. One, two, three...

– Zaina and Qamar

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Jibreel al-Hashlamon

I am originally from Hebron. I work at the Governmental Hospital. I chose to study as a doctor because I love to help people. I support poor families and the sick. When someone comes to the hospital with many broken bones after falling, or with leg wounds, to see him standing and walking again is an achievement. I’ll feel proud. We don’t have weekends, we’re always on call. Because of this, it’s difficult to have a personal life. Yesterday, I was at the hospital and returned home at 1:30am. A few years ago, when things were worse, I used to stay until 6am to give treatment. I'm helping people all the time, but I think I have to do more.

- Jibreel al-Hashlamon

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Jamal Maraqa

I went to England to study as a jeweler for three or four years. Afterwards, I came back and settled down. I have a nice family, two sons and a daughter. My daughter is 29, and my sons are 28 and 24. My sons both do civil engineering–one of them works with the CCC and the other is a university teacher. My daughter finished her master’s in mathematics. They are really good kids. I’m spending all my time in this store, but in a way, I am retired now that they are fully independent. I’ve been coming to this market for at least 50 years to join my father at his business. We would come down from the house to pick up things for my mother. Everyone from all over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Bedouin villagers, used to come every morning to this market to collect whatever they needed, pray in the Ibrahami mosque, and leave in the evening. Today, we like people to come down and to see things here, because the media is not on our side. They call us a lot of bad things: terrorists, vicious, bad people. We are not like that. To be honest, we are fully educated, polite people; we don’t do anyone any harm. We want people to come down and witness things themselves.

- Jamal Maraqa

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Zleikha Muhtaseb

I’m growing old. Maybe 20 years old now? No, I’m 56. I was born in the house where my parents were born, near the Ibrahimi mosque. I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys and was the only daughter in my family. I lost my father in the 1967 War, so me and my brothers were sent to boarding schools. I got my schooling in Jerusalem, until the 11th grade, when I decided I needed to go back home and join my family. I studied English and education at Hebron University. Teaching gave me a lot of experience on how to deal with the community and put me on the first step towards volunteer work. I love children. My passion is for kids. In school, I would go to the children's section to help the babysitters with bathing, feeding, and playing with the kids. I always classify myself as the oldest child in the old city. I am from the area, so I know the needs of the children. I have a kindergarten as a volunteer project. For me it’s not an investment, it’s life. I cover many of the expenses myself. Children are the angels in life. It’s my world.

-Zleikha Muhtaseb

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