Mohammed Mousa remained in the Gaza Strip without his family. Hope for a better future.

People look at the camera.

Mohammed Mousa with his children, Omer on his arm Photo: private

Mohamed Musa, 40 years old, he is a doctor and lived in Gaza City until the war began. Shortly afterward he fled to Rafah with his wife and his four children.

My daughter's hand was glued to the window of the bus on which my family left Gaza across the border into Egypt a week ago. And now, while my family is in Cairo and I stay in Rafah, I can't stop crying. We paid $17,000 to keep my wife and four children safe. There was no money for me. When I took my family to the border, I begged the border guard to let me accompany them. But he refused. I must “coordinate” myself to be able to cross the border.

Coordinating means spending a lot of money. If you pay $5,000, it will take between thirty and forty days to appear on the list so they can unsubscribe you. If you pay between $10,000 and $12,000, it will only take about a week. So I returned to the tent where we had found refuge for months.

Since then, I've been conflicted: I'm grateful my family is safe. I know everyone has something to eat and drink, but I feel like a part of my heart is missing. And I am very afraid of an Israeli offensive in Rafah and that then I will no longer be able to go to them.

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My biggest concern is our five-year-old son, Omer, who has been diagnosed with a hemangioma in his left temporal bone, a tumor. That's very strange.

He cannot be treated in Gaza due to a lack of technical equipment, so before the war he was treated several times for his critical condition at the highly rated Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. In November he had an appointment for an urgent procedure, but it was canceled because of the war. Now the affected area has accumulated pus and is severely infected.

As a result, Omer can no longer hear well. They are afraid of bombs, like all my children. At first I tried to make them think it was fun. But my oldest son is 14 and knows what war sounds like, so they quickly knew it wasn't a game. Many times he gave them his cell phone so they could play and distract themselves. The fear was omnipresent and they had nightmares. Two weeks ago shrapnel fell directly on our tent, but God protected us, we were not hurt.

Omer now needs urgent treatment in a well-equipped hospital. I am also a doctor, but I cannot help my own son. In 2022 I received an Erasmus Mundus scholarship and started studying health sciences in Oviedo, Spain.

But due to Omer's poor health situation, I returned to Gaza in the first semester. Some fellow students I met during that time are now trying to help us. They started a crowdfunding campaign on gofundme to keep Omer and the rest of my family safe. Now I don't have enough money to go to my family in Cairo.

Our house in Gaza City is destroyed. I asked a friend of mine to take a look at it. He sent me a photo. The house was literally reduced to rubble. My wife fainted when she told her.

My big dream is to build a safe and peaceful life for myself and my family in Gaza. But I don't think that will happen in Gaza for many years. And as I look again at the photos of my family, at the photo of my daughter's hands in the bus window, I continue to cry and pray that God protects us. That soon there will be a truce and Omer will receive the treatment he needs.

Protocol: Judith Poppe

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