I remember little of my childhood during the years 1968-1970. What I remember is that this was a miserable time: the constant crying of my mother and her prayers for the survival of my uncle, who was in Jordan. I also remember how our father often reminded us to not bother my mother, to leave her alone.During that time my mother was crying day and night while listening to a small radio. Each day she would send us children to a field nearby to play among the fruit trees so that we would not see her crying all day. She rarely cooked, and when, it was some vegetables mixed with small stones and crispy bugs. These were the small black crunchy bugs from the UNRWA food which were in the food allocations given by them to all Palestinians since the Nakba in 1948 and since the zionists occupied the West Bank in 1967.My father, who was poor at that time, took care of us to the best of his ability. For breakfast we mostly had a piece of dry bread with some marmalade made of grapes or with some of the fat from the UNRWA rations, which had a disgusting taste to it.Actually, all the food from the UNRWA was unhealthy or expired, probably their idea of “humanitarian relief”. The dates were nests of living worms; the flour was full of worms; the oil and fat had a “special” taste and made us vomit and gave us strong headaches; the sugar came as brown stones and was mixed with dirt; the boiled eggs were black and had a rotten stench.However, all Palestinians waited for the handout of these disgusting, expired and unhealthy rations by the UNRWA, because as a result of the Nakba and the widespread looting by the jews, everybody was destitute. Among the recipients of this “humanitarian aid” was my mother.In those years, my mother suddenly changed and became interested in listening to the radio more than in us children or in caring about our meals. The radio became her ONLY friend, she put it close to her ears all the time. It was difficult for us to know her what the radio was speaking. At that time there were no TVs or computers. When she sat with the radio to her ears I would often see her tears falling down while she listened to the news. Sometimes I saw her very nervously asking my father for his assistance, saying “the voice (station) of “Al-Asefa” (Thunderbolt) has disappeared!”. My would then turn the radio’s knob left and right, searching for the station. Sometimes he would tell my mother “Here is the station of Radio Monte Carlo, or the station of Arab Broadcast”.
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