As a child, he found work, selling tobacco. But it didn't sell well for him, so he switched to selling newspapers and magazines. He walked the streets every day with them, trying to make money.
"I started to sell the Palestinian newspapers, like Alayam, Alhayat, and Alquds and the Egyptian magazines that reached Gaza through the crossing," he says. "But the Egyptian magazines were cut off about two years ago, since the start of the siege, in addition to the prevention of Palestinian newspapers entering from the West Bank and Jerusalem. Since then, I became unemployed and I lost my livelihood."
As well as being out of work, Uncle Abu Wajeh is also in poor health:
"I looked for a better job, but my health is preventing anyone from providing any work for me. The job made me tired, but I loved it. I would leave my house at six o'clock in the morning, and be on my feet all day, selling newspapers. But now, I spend my time on the rubble of my house, which was demolished in the war. I struggled a lot to build it, and now I am sitting on the ruins and lament about it, as I return to my small rented house. The rent is high, and the burden on my budget and my family is great, but what can I do? I have a dozen boys and girls, ten of whom are from my first wife, who died after her stroke, and there are two from my new wife. My oldest son Wajeh died in the war, and I have two divorced daughters, and they live with me. One of them has three children, and I am responsible for their upbringing."
Regarding his relationship with the newspaper, he says: "I did not go to school, but I learned to read the newspaper. I knew the headlines and the important news, so I began to call it in the streets, to attract customers. I knew the news that pleased customers, such as the entry of food and aid to Gaza, so I called it happily. I feel a strong relationship was created between me and the newspaper, and I cannot leave her. I wish I had a small newsstand, so I could sell the newspapers, and my clients, who have known me over the years, could come to me."
- Article and photos by Eman Jomaa