To go out to the street, to breathe the air of a spring day, to see people occupied in selling and buying, working and earning a living. To see people enjoying a nice walk, children holding hands with their parents, on their way to buy candies or to play at the park. Seeing elders walking peacefully, enjoying the life all around them and becoming filled with new spirit. Seeing the disabled people functioning independently in the streets… Experiencing this normal life and being a part of them, just for a short time… Just in the vacation days.
Life in Sderot is different. You don’t see people enjoying a walk, you don’t see children playing in the streets, and you don’t experience a normal life.
There is no normal life in Sderot. Here, people live between one Qassam missile and another, a stressful and unexpected way of life. A charged life.
My name is Orit, I was born and raised in Sderot, and I live in Sderot. It’s a small city, and it used to be a beautiful and peaceful place
Life here used to be just like in any other city. The holidays and summers were lively and full of activities, and at winters, the people were busier in working and building their homes. Life was regular and diverse, just like in any city. A life of establishment and continuity.
This was the life we lived until the arrival of the Qassam missiles.
Life slowly came to a half in Sderot. In the past, we were free to go out and live our lives. When we were children, we could go outside to school and to play, and the city wasn’t under siege like it is today. We weren’t afraid to go out to the backyard or to the store, and we weren’t searching for a protected space at all times. The neighborhood bomb shelters were used as another place to play at, and not as a place that saves lives. Today, in order to leave your home, you need a plan. You need to know where you’re going. You need to know if the place you’re going to is protected, and how calm the situation has been on that day. If Qassam missiles were already fired on that morning, what are the odds that there will be more coming? You need a plan, just like a military operation.
Things are more complicated for me. I am a disabled woman. I’ve been sitting in a wheelchair ever since I was young, and in the past few years I’ve been receiving partial artificial respiration, due to a pneumonia complication.
A large part of my day revolves around the daily medical treatments, but I try living the rest of it in the most normal way that I can. I spend most of this time with my computer, and I use it for communication, study, work and free past time.
Life was supposed to be much calmer and simpler without the Qassam missiles, even for a disabled woman like me… I can cope with my disabilities, and I can continue to function, but with the Qassam missiles… Everything becomes silent, everything stops!
Even proportional normal functioning is impossible. Each alarm paralyzes me, more than my disabilities. Each missile hit or ‘boom’ sound freezes my blood. The stress paralyzes me more than anything.
Going out to the street or even to the balcony isn’t an option, and all I can do is roll my wheelchair. It takes a few seconds, and that’s enough time for a missile to land.
I spend most of my day in front of my computer, in an internal room, and when the ‘Red Color’ alarm goes off, all I can do is pray. It takes me a while to catch my breath again, and it stops every time I hear an alarm or a noise.
One day, we (the family which loyally takes care of me, and myself) had a rare opportunity to leave Sderot for a few days. We organized the equipment and my medical devices, and left quickly, like refugees, in case the alarm would go off in the process. Thank God we made it out. When we started driving, the environment was very tense. An unknown silence, which continued until we passed the Ashkelon area. After this, we started breathing more calmly, and everything became more peaceful. We had passed the first step…
To describe the vacation in a few words? It’s almost impossible… Days of serenity in front of the sea. Being able to go out and be free, despite the disabilities and treatments. Everything seemed simpler, possible, free… I could breathe easily without the heavy feeling of suffocation…
I was able to live.