For me, the blockade is a continuous problem faced every day. You can’t plan your life in Gaza. You live day to day. It is impossible to plan for longer. And the blockade keeps you constantly busy. For two or three days, you might be busy thinking about gas and how to get gas. Then you have a problem with water. Then it is another problem. The power crisis is always at the back of your mind. Drones are constantly overhead.   

The blockade is problem, after problem, after problem, all of which keep you running. It impacts every part of your life. It is your life. Everyone finds their own way to survive, and that is the blockade, finding ways to survive. I finished my bachelor degree in architecture in 2013, and I have been trying since 2014 to go to Germany to complete a master degree program. I knew it would be difficult to travel and thought it might take me a year. I have been accepted to a program in Germany, but I can’t get the permits I need to travel. Now, in October 2016, I am still stuck.  

Students in Gaza are barred from traveling abroad to pursue their education.

I had plans to go and come back. I want to bring change in Gaza, but I can’t. I can’t even plan or live my life while I am here. Applying for a visa takes two or three months. If I get a visa and Israeli travel permits I will leave, so how can I take a permanent job? I live day to day and can’t plan my life. I have been trying to travel for three years. If I could have traveled, I already would have my degree.  

In 2014 I applied for a visa but had a problem with my papers. I couldn’t show that I had a place to live in Germany because I didn’t want to commit to anything without knowing I could travel. I kept on having to give the consulate different documents, my CV, proof of work, a motivation letter, documents from the college. The process took too long and after six months I had to apply again.  

Then the war started in 2014, and everything stopped. I had to start the process again. I had to renew my admission at the college. I have had to renew my admission three times.  

After applying again, I got a visa to Germany, but I had to travel within one month to use the visa. After that the visa expired. The borders were closed, and it was impossible to get out of Gaza. The border opened the day after the visa expired. 

I now have to apply again for a visa, but if I get another I still don’t know if I can travel. I will submit my papers tomorrow. This process has gone on for three years. If I had been thinking of staying in Gaza for three years, I would have thought about life completely differently.  


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