My name is Lama Abed, I am 14 years old, and a student at an UNRWA school. On Wednesday September 26, I was walking home from a great day of school. I was feeling happy and energetic, when my mom reminded me that my school would be putting on a week-long event starting the next day! The event would be a ‘healthy foods week’, where all the students at my school would bring home-cooked snacks and meals from home to share. I was really excited!
To prepare for the event, I joined my lovely mother in our kitchen. We baked several kinds of pastries - all baked with love.
The next morning I woke up with the sun, right at 6:00 a.m, and began getting dressed for school. As I reached for my school-uniform, I realized I could not forget to bring the pastries with me, and my mom had packed some vegetables for me to bring as well. I smiled and immediately, it stopped feeling like a school day and much more like I was getting ready for a party!
I got to school that morning and made my way through the classes we had scheduled for the day. Then, teachers began make their way around our classrooms, telling us to take out our healthy food boxes. We all had been waiting for this moment all day.
In order to make sure we could effectively share our food, teachers put us into small groups. Nobody cared what group they would end up in, they were overjoyed with the fairly simple food we were being offered.
While we were eating, I looked up my from my food to take a look at the scene I sat in. It was then that I realized a lot of the heartbreaking realities taking place around me. I noticed that even though everyone was excited about the event, not everyone had something to share. A lot of the students did not have enough food at home. Let alone, enough to bring some to school to share.
Realizing this made me really sad. I stood up and started sharing the food in my box with the girls I saw sitting empty handed. In that moment I dreamed of being Aladdin. I wished I could have the ability to rub a magic lamp and be granted three wishes by some Genie. With three wishes, I could feed all the hungry girls at my school. I could even wish to give us a more normal life - like other kids around the world.
As much as I wish I could be Aladdin, I am Lama, and the scene I saw around me that day was only a piece of the reality my peers and I have become accustomed to. That doesn’t change that we deserve peace. We deserve an end to hunger and poverty. We deserve an end to pain.
A group of young and almost teenage girls were made overjoyed be a school event hosting healthy foods. We are simple people - the fulfillment of our basic needs has turned to promote our happiness as well as our health.