When I recall that year and how it did pass by, I don’t know shall I smile, sigh or feel sorry. 2012 was the start of everything for me, I graduated in 2007 and ever since then I’ve applied in the programme that were implemented for the fresh graduates. All of them did not give me the experience that I longed for. Five years passed by and I fell in a complete despair, no career and not a single hope of me getting either my master or becoming what I wanted to be, a professional interpreter. Until one day my husband called me and said, “ it’s all set up, I gave him your C.V. and he wants to meet you , so you got an appointment on 1:00 pm “. I hang up and my mind sank into deep thinking, what will I do, what will he ask me , and a lot of questions jammed themselves inside my mind. The night of 12th of June 2012 was a long night that I couldn’t forget. Inside my head I imagined that he would ask me several questions that I won’t be able to answer and then he’ll tell me, “sorry, you don’t fit to work with me”. But then again my heart tries to keep me optimistic at some point. I don’t really remember how did I fall asleep that night, all what I recall while my eyes were closed a bunch of meaningless images and flashes between each one of them.
As the breeze blew through the window I literally jumped of my bed looking at my phone to see what time it is, I was nervous but my husband wasn’t at all, all what he said, “relax, everything is going to be alright “. You see to my husband he was their relative whom he and my father in law would visit now and then, so he basically knew him very well, but to me he’s that well known political/peace activist/ psychologist and I knew working with him would add a lot to my career. My crime partner, as I like to call him since he always have my back in every single right or wrong decision that I make, got off the bed got dressed and started to drink his coffee. As he was sipping it he looked at me and noticed that I was staring at the papers but my mind wasn’t reading anything, it was hang somewhere else. “ Psst, you’ll do fine, I will come along so you won’t feel lonely , I know you can’t do anything without me”. I looked at him and smiled, “you perfectly know that don’t you, Mosab”. He finished his coffee and left to his work.
When the time of the appointment was close, I prepared myself and my husband came as he promised and we went together. As we knocked on the door, it was opened, I thought that one of who work with would lead us in, but as I looked at the one who was standing at the door to welcome us I realized that I was wrong. A man at his late 60s was standing there wearing casual clothes nothing formal and a pair of slippers,” on time, welcome please come in”. I walked in and all of the fear has faded away, we sat down in the living room, “your C.V. is very interesting, it’s not easy to find a very fluent English speaker and got a good background in project management.”. “He is only complementing me nothing more.” I thought to myself because I always felt that I needed more experience but wasn’t given the chance. “My assistant will contact you in few days to tell the task that I need you in and no worries we’ll work together on your management background to empower it”. That is it, he did not ask me anything, and he simply praised me and enforced my simple experience and wanted to enlarge it. Indeed he is a special man, I am talking about Dr. Eyad Alsarraj. This one of kind man had made a change in my life and with me working with him as if the jinx that had taken over my life for a while had been removed.
Dr. Eyad is a well-known character who knew how to deal with everything witty, but at the same time remained the family guy. At the time when studying psychology and becoming a specialist in was not a very welcomed idea in our society he got his certificate in from U.K. When he came back to Gaza, he came with one dream and idea, is to found a special place where he can practice what he have studied and so he did. He founded Gaza community for mental health programme in 1990, through it he wanted to help the traumatized people, and his main focus was on the children who suffered during the uprising of 1987. He believed that a generation who lived in a violent atmosphere will only reproduce violence. And since every action had an equal reaction, where there’s hatred, violence, lack of justice the same would be given back. His main concern was to build a society that would not live victims under the shades of blood, imprisonment and to look u to build a brighter future. His small clinic became bigger through the years and his vision and mission got spread to include women who lost their spouses, brothers, children or those who might face domestic violence.
When that small chit-chat, as I may name it, I went home thinking what is my task going to be, but my thoughts didn’t take a lot of my time. Dr. Eyad’s assistant called me and told me that there’s a meeting that is going to be held in Al-mathaf, a hotel in Gaza, and Alsarraj suggested my name as an English interpreter. “Please be there 6:00 P.M. sharp” he said. “Great” , I said to myself,” it’s going to be a great experience and an opportunity for me to meet new people “. Never took into my mind that what’s going to come up will be a very tough challenge. On my way there I was thinking, it’s not going to be a big deal, perhaps a group of five members, ten at the max. The driver dropped me there and I went to ask which hall the meeting was held. When I entered the hall I was shocked, the hall was filled with many people with different nationalities and different languages. I was mesmerized, could not move, till a man at 40 of age came towards me and said, “Heba, right!!” I didn’t replay I simple nodded my head as a sign of affirmation. “Dr. Eyad has recommended you and said that you are a qualified interpreter, please sit here” . He pulled the chair and I sat down, next to me was a British man, whom his name has completely slipped my mind, he gave me an outline for the meeting. “Read it, you can find all your answers here. We’ll be starting in 5 minutes” he said. My heart skipped a beat, is this man talking for real, the outline is almost 15 pages where to start. At that point I was lost, but I pulled myself together, “I will make it.” I said to myself. As the meeting started, which was talking about the crisis in Sinai, the outcomes and the side effect on both Egypt and the Strip. That meeting was almost for two hours, and I was moving from one table to another to translate what is said and discussed, at any point that I would feel lost, I challenge my weakness and turn it to strength. Yes I managed to get through the whole meeting, at the last 15 minutes, Dr. Eyad stepped in the hall, welcomed everyone , continued the discussion, or what has left of it, then dinner was served. To be honest I was starving, but I didn’t eat that much. Before the dinner came, a young man came to me, “would you like some juice, you look exhausted!”. “Yes, please.” Without any hesitation I replayed, later on I figured out that was Dr. Eyad’s son Waseem, such a gentleman he was. The meeting came to an end, I was in a complete mess and I thought to myself I should have done better. To my surprise everyone in the meeting was pleased with my job and complimented me.
That day came to an end, I went home told my husband everything, “it’s going to be a great start” Mosab said, “I am optimistic. The next day Dr. Eyad called me and told me that everyone at the meeting was very pleased with your job, and assigned me another job, which was to translate his articles and after wards to attend a meeting he had with a journalist so I note down everything.. Working with him was a good start indeed, I applied for a 2 month contract and I got the job, got an excellent evaluation at the end of it. As my contract ended I got accepted for another job with a good salary, but I did not stop working with Dr. Eyad even if it was a part time job. I respected that man very much, he had a clear vision for everything and above all he loved his family more than anything. As days passed by, I learned he left the strip to get therapy, and his condition wasn’t getting any better. Dr. Eyad had blood cancer, he overcome it before seven years when he got marrow transplant, but the disease came back. This time was worst, I did not know what to do, I felt bitter, sad, that man gave me hope and he believed in me. I started to pray that he’ll get better and beat the disease as he did before. At December 2013, Dr. Eyad has left this world, leaving behind all the beloved one and those who he had a deep effect on. I felt sorry, so sad because such men cannot be easily found, a man of his word, knew how to criticize and speak up his mind but never had enemies from any party. It’s true that he got arrested on orders of the late Yasser Arafat, but he maintained a strong relationship with everyone.
Dr. Eyad lit a light of hope inside of every desperate person, he dreamed of a better future for Palestine and the people here. He gave me hope at the time I was about to lose it. I know everyone has a different view of him, nevertheless, he left his fingerprint. Whenever his name is mentioned, struggling and speaking out the right comes to mind. May his soul rest in peace.