In English classes in Gaza people sometimes ask ” If you were in Britain, what would you do?” They do this as a way to practise the second conditional which as you know is used for talking about unreal, hypothetical situations.
One day in January this year I suddenly realised that for us this situation wasn’t hypothetical any more. I was chasing something possible; the long – awaited dream was going to come true.
The unforgettable journey started when the HUP announced the winner of the Remote Theatre Competitions 2019. My little girls were joyfully imagining the next few days in UK. They desired to see what the world outside the besieged Gaza looked like. None of them wanted to wake up from such a dream. But I was realistic enough to know that even though the travelling date was getting closer, the other world was still far away beyond several checkpoints and border crossings. But , there is always hope. After a two day long, exhausting journey we were in London.
We were very lucky to have a warm reception and excellent hospitality by Melissa Scott and her family. They kindly took us on a tour of London. The girls were cheerful to walk on the bridge above the river Thames, watch the London Eye, while boats were sailing on the right side and the train was passing on the left one. It was great opportunity to interact with different people and learn about foreign cultures. Especially when we walked through Chinatown in the middle of London, as well as having Japanese food to eat there. We quickly realised that London is a beautiful mix of different cultures, religions and people.
The next day we performed our play in a London primary school. This was a wonderful experience for all of us and the school now want to do a regular online link up with us through the Hands Up Project.
Then we visited the countryside. Everything was fresh and green ;a perfect place to release your thoughts and relax. Moreover, it is totally different from the crowded city of Gaza. It was the first time ever to walk besides a stream and see wonderful deer.
After that, we had another amazing experience which is traveling by train to Preston. This city has great contradictions like traditional buildings and modern ones, an old market and a huge shopping centre, museums as well as new modern institutes. Everybody there was very kind to the girls.
On 6th of April ,UCLAN University hosted the HUP conference 2019 and supported my team to do a fabulous performance of their play, ” I can smell her”
Everyone seemed very moved and engaged by the performance and afterwards they all wanted to talk to us and ask us about the play. It was monumental moment for us when we felt that our message of resilience had been understood by the audience, and that we had made a play which could touch people.
All in all, this short journey to UK made a big difference within those girls dreams and future. We hope that we have also helped to make a difference to the people we met.
So thank you Mr. Nick the founder of the HUP and a true pioneer who has helped these young girls to shine. We are so grateful to everyone who helped to make this happen.