Salwa is slowly waking up from sedation. She feels groggy but she’s already familiar with this sensation. She has undergone several surgical procedures since she arrived at the MSF-supported Dar Al Salam Hospital in southern Gaza. She was brave this time and didn’t cry when she entered the operating theatre.
From her room in the hospital, Salwa can see the Mediterranean in the distance and hear the voices of pupils coming from the school close by. But her big brown eyes always look elsewhere. She stares at objects and people in the room, as if outside there was something wrong, something to worry about.
“Some days are better than others for her,” explains Rania Samour, an MSF counsellor providing psychosocial support in the hospital. “Some days Salwa just bursts into tears and keeps asking to see her family. Other days, she’s more reactive; she smiles and chats with me.”