Hit By Snowball
For Sajida Hattab, a 19-year-old university student in the West Bank, it was the magic of her first snow this past January that marked the day. The Palestinian territory hadn’t had snow in years and even when it had, Sajida’s family had been on vacation for the winter in Saudi Arabia. The weeks leading up to the snow had been bathed in golden light and a temperature in the high 60s. Snow is unusual in the West Bank and they lack the infrastructure to handle it, so when it came, the city just stopped, and as if in unison, sunk into the playful nature of a small child. No one was immune. Streets became a community where a smile really meant “Can I play with you?” and a “Yes, please" was returned with a snowball to the head.
Taking a Shot
"Syara! SYARA! SYARA!" screamed a group of kids on a street corner intersection, referring to an approaching car. An old white Volkswagen Beetle tugged itself up the steep hill. Its engine made unhealthy clinking car noises as it swerved left to right to keep traction.
Poised for Throw
Sajida and her friends were poised with snowballs in hand. Just as the car reached the intersection it caught a bit of ground in its tires and sped past the ambush. Snowballs flew, but the kids’ unfamiliarity with the sport was apparent in their trajectories. The Beetle made it unscathed. It was almost out of sight when the tires made a terrible sound that arrested the kids’ attention. Snow started spitting out from behind and the poor little car descended the hill in defeat. This series of events repeated until it was clear that despite the grandest of efforts, the car would not make it.
Perfect Snowball on Car
With soaking wet socks on their hands for gloves, Sajida and her friends once again scooped up some snow and took their positions. The little bug had good speed coming down the hill and would have made a difficult target to hit, but just as it entered the battle zone, something gentle rose. The car slowed to an almost complete stop. “Go ahead,” it was saying. Everyone took a few steps in and waited to be sure, then smiled at the car in thanks for this soft and spirited gesture. And with the same grace, the kids tossed their snowballs at the car, most landing near the edges, but one landing with a small thump on the windshield. The perfect simplicity of its placement sent the kids into a roaring laugh as the car dusted its self off before continuing down the hill. With no more cars in sight, they turned on each other.