Gaza City

By Mohammed Salem

Since the summer vacations started, every morning as I go to the office I see lots of children on the way to their summer camps, travelling either on foot or by bus. Based on my previous visits to these different camps, the stark contrast between the various activities on offer occurred to me as an interesting subject for a story.

I started my exploratory tour by visiting a Hamas-run summer camp, where I spent about 20 minutes watching the youngsters and seeing what they were really interested in. My attention was caught by their tough determination and ability to perform military-style exercises under the heat of the sun.

The scenes I watched in that camp were in complete contrast to what children are offered by the U.N. fun weeks. So for my story I planned to find two schoolchildren who were at the different camps, and document their daily activities in order to illustrate their personal lives.

In the Hamas-run camp, a boy named Mahmoud Haniyeh drew my attention with his commitment to his supervisors’ instructions, as well as his desire to be the first to start any given activity.

Full Focus: Gaza’s Summer Camps

I waited for the best time in terms of light, then I started to take pictures of him. Before leaving the camp for the day, I rushed to photograph him looking out of the window of the bus he was riding. I drove my car to catch up with him at his family’s house where I had the chance to take a picture of him with his mother and younger siblings.