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daily life and celebration merge: last day of Eid


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The third day of Eid, kids are still in their new clothes, playing in the streets on makeshift swings or simplified, hand-powered fair-ground rides.

But there are also the extremely poor who aren’t taking the day off, instead profiting from holiday waste to scour the trash bins for recyclables. One such donkey and cart is slugging uphill as I walk behind. It stops and the two youths driving it hop off to poke through the bin, moving on to the next bin a couple hundred metres on.

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As I pass, we smile. Despite what might seem a job and lifestyle to blush from, the youths say the day is going well when I ask about their work.

There are those youths for whom financial life is less dire. Some pile in a taxi I’ve gotten in bound for Sheyjayee. They get out in lower Rimal, destined to amble around the Joondi park or get snack food from the post-Ramadan newly resurfaced street vendors.

At Sheyjayee, I swap taxis and head north, getting out at the Ezbet Abed Rabbo intersection and heading up to my friends’ home.

Most of the family, it turns out, are visiting friends and relatives. H. is at the sea with friends and F. is visiting a sister near Gaza city.

I chat instead with their father, who showers me with dates and grapes. As I leave, they he insists I take fresh dates from their trees, and sends a young relative up to harvest them.

Back in Gaza, I wander through some back lanes to a friend’s apartment, coming across a few narrow alleys packed with children on makeshift swings. I don’t need to ask them if I can take their photos; they pounce on me and strike poses. Their clothes are new, but one can easily see the quality is cheap and won’t stay nice for long. But for kids it is the immediate joys that impress; their parents will have to deal with the clothing woes later, along with the woes of daily struggle in Gaza under siege.

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