Rafah, Gaza Strip – The colorful kites fluttering within the skies of Rafah belie the fact they soar over: ragged tents packed tightly collectively, and features of individuals looking for meals, water, and firewood. Operating out and in of all of it are youngsters, temporary smiles illuminating their exhausted faces as they appear up at their flying miracles.

That such a easy toy can convey them moments of pleasure is in and of itself a miracle – and proof of the undefeatable spirit of kids who handle this within the midst of rubble, demise, displacement, starvation, and freezing chilly as Israel’s brutal battle on Gaza nears 5 months.

Greater than 1.3 million individuals are displaced in Rafah proper now, a density that’s within the high three worldwide. Solely these individuals are not dwelling in highrises or fashionable cities: they’re packed tightly collectively in makeshift tents.

‘We have been screaming’

Tariq Khalaf, 12, has a kite, and he’s very pleased with the actual fact.

“When the solar rose, I got here out of the tent to take a seat right here on the sand,” he says. “I noticed some children flying kites and I requested them how I might get one, too.

“I had sticks, however didn’t have the paper so I discovered somebody who had some paper and requested him. He made one for me and one for his son and now I can come out and play all day with my kite.

Cheerful kites bobbing on the air’s currents belie the loss and unhappiness they fly over [Ruwaida Amer/Al Jazeera]

“It’s so good to observe it rise into the sky with the wind, and to run together with it, me and my buddies from the tents close by.”

Satisfaction and happiness are in Tariq’s phrases, displaying how a lot he missed taking part in and being exterior doing on a regular basis issues with buddies.

“We will’t play … we used to play soccer however there’s no house right here between the tents. You’ll be able to’t play and run like I used to within the area subsequent to our home.”

Tariq and his household have been displaced from their dwelling in Nassr in Gaza, to al-Shifa Hospital, then to Khan Younis. Lastly, they ended up in Rafah.

“We left the home due to the bombing … we have been screaming from the sound of the explosions,” he says. “My father was [always] looking for meals by way of assist or individuals distributing meals to the displaced.

“I’d spend my time operating across the schoolyard [in Khan Younis] or simply sitting within the nook ready for the night time so I might sleep.”

‘My children have aged’

Salem Baraka has gotten in on the kite sport as effectively, however largely for his youngsters, he says.

Kites in Rafah
‘We have been screaming from the sound of the explosions,’ Tariq mentioned of his household’s displacement [Ruwaida Amer/Al Jazeera]

The 40-year-old from Abasan east of Khan Younis got here to Rafah early on within the battle, given how used he has develop into to being displaced every time Israel launches an assault on Gaza.

“I left my land and my home to save lots of my youngsters from demise … I’ve six youngsters, the youngest is Louay, he’s 9.

“The youngsters are so scared and on the identical time so bored, and it solely will get worse because the battle progresses. Some have develop into violent and aggressive and may’t bear to talk to anybody.

“My children had their very own rooms; they used to play with their cousins. Now they sit in entrance of the tent, suspending their lives.”

When kites grew to become standard, Salem says, Louay requested him to make one for him, but it surely didn’t fly, so Salem purchased one from any individual else within the encampment.

“Look,” he says, pointing up. “They make the sky look good as an alternative of the same old smoke from the bombings.”

“My children have aged throughout the battle, their personalities modified,” the daddy provides, wanting involved.

Kites in Rafah
Saeed Ashraf purchased this kite for himself and his youthful brother, Murad [Ruwaida Amer/Al Jazeera]

“The kites maintain them busy,” he notes. “I see Louay speaking to his kite, screaming when it falls and cheering when it rises within the sky. I used to be comfortable he discovered one thing to play with as an alternative of sitting within the sand and crying out of boredom.”

‘I fear I’ll get misplaced among the many tents’

One other kite flyer is 13-year-old Saeed Ashraf, who additionally got here to Rafah from Khan Younis.

He purchased his kite from one of many youngsters within the camp who’re making and promoting them to earn some money and assist their households out.

“I purchased one for myself and my brother Murad, who’s 9,” Saeed mentioned.

“Now, we depart the tent day by day every time the climate is nice for kite-flying. We don’t go far, although, as a result of the place is so filled with tents that I’m afraid that we might get misplaced if we go too far.

“So, Murad and I keep close to the tent and fly our kite. It makes us comfortable, and my dad sits close by, watching us. I feel it makes him comfortable, too.

“I miss our dwelling in Khan Yunis and I hope the military will depart quickly.”

Saeed says that when the battle is over, “I’ll take these kites again with me to fly them in our neighbourhood with my brother and our neighbours.”

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