Eight

Gaza is like nowhere else, living in it for a period of time allows you to discover some interesting features hardly ever found elsewhere.

In Gaza, the usual day & night cycle is replaced by another cycle, I like to call it “the 8 hours cycle”.

The power supply system in Gaza is nearly crashing with a 50% gap in supplies, do the math and you’ll soon realize that people here spend half the day powerless!

For 8 hours, the neighborhood is quiet, everyone is in their homes, trying to do their chores, catch up with their favorite T.V shows, surf the web, or they are at least trying to have some descent hours of sleep before the power goes off and the power-dependent temperature lowering precautions come to failure.

In the following 8 hours, it’s completely the opposite. Having nothing to do, men get out to the streets, gathering in groups, discussing literally everything. Children are not different; those 8 hours are spent almost totally outside, playing, running, screaming, fighting and denying everyone their peacefulness. The best thing – for them – is that no one can blame them for the chaos they create; they are both children and bored after all.

Once the power is cut, the grating noise from the power generators is something you can’t miss. In the families lucky enough to have one, there is a member assigned to the mission of running and maintaining the generator. It’s like he is the minister of generator affairs. When the clock declares that the blessed 8 hours of power presence are about to end, that minister must be all ready to perform his duty, or else, there would be a mess, and it is because of the serious responsibilities that he holds, he can’t be away from the household at the critical minutes when everyone is waiting for the power to go off, Everyone is counting on him. In my house, this person happens to be me.

For most Gazans , the social life is synchronized according to this 8 hour cycle. If you are clever enough, you’ll manage to get your visits and outside tasks done during the 8 hours of power deprivation. Or else, you can kiss goodbye to your studying, forget about computer assignments, favorite TV show, peaceful streets. Yes, you got it right… For 8 hours.

The best thing about all of this is that people have made their peace with the situation; it’s not annoying them anymore – except for internet addicts like me! I believe that soon enough, I’ll get used to it as had everyone else, until that day comes, let’s pray for the generator to stay safe and sound.

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