First a little background…
Aliza suffers from a mental disability so when her house caught fire three years ago she had no idea what to do, how to do it, or even where to go for help. She was hospitalized shortly after the fire, and when she was released she went home to her burnt out home. Her husband dropped her off at the hospital and that was the last time she saw him.
Aliza fell between the cracks of Israel’s social services. For the past two years she has lived in her burnt out home with neither electricity nor running water.
We hesitated to involve Hope for Sderot in Aliza’s situation for a couple of reasons. One we had to verify this story, because what happened seemed too crazy to be possible and secondly Hope For Sderot feeds people, it does not rebuild homes. Now that we sorted through the facts and know the truth of the matter, we need to see what we can do to help Aliza.
We heard of Aliza several weeks ago . I was told that her home had a fire and it was in need of some repairs. I went to meet her and see just what her needs were.
The house did indeed have a fire. The entire house has been smoke damage. All the walls and ceilings are black. The smell of smoke permeates the air more than two years after the fire. The cause of the fire was electrical, so that is why she has lived without electricity for two years. To add insult to injury, a water pipe blew out, and Aliza is without water also.
Aliza’s refrigerator was destroyed in the fire a long with her clothing, personal belongings, and furniture. She has no way to cook, take a shower, or flush her toilet.
The most unbelievable part aspect of this story is that she has been living in this way in this house for two years. Somehow she fell through all the safety nets that Israel and Sderot have.
Aliza has been using a toilet at the cemetery, whish is just across the street from her home. To bathe she carries water home in two-liter bottles which she pours over her head. Because she can neither cook nor refrigerate food, she eats whatever she gets straight out of the can, cold or at best room temperature.
Aliza spent some time in the hospital after the fire, but since coming home she has lived in this unbelievable situation. We are still trying to gather the facts about Aliza and her life, the way she is living really IS unbelievable – no matter what the causes were, Aliza needs help.
My wifei came with me for my second visit on Friday. She was in tears within two minutes after she walk through the door. Eti asked Aliza, “How can you live like this?” Aliza told her she has some candles for light; she lines the toilet with a plastic bag and then takes it to the trash. To clean herself she uses the bottles of water she fills up at the cemetery.
Aliza will eventually need all new appliances and furniture, but, before we get to that point, we need to clean the smoke damage, re-wire, re-plaster, re-paint, replace melted windows, and the list gets longer every time we visit Aliza. We always see new damage we had not noticed earlier – partly because the lack of electricity makes it hard for us to examine things properly.
When Eti invited Aliza to spend Shabbat with us and to come have a hot shower she replied, “I have been dreaming of a hot shower”… her dream came true, as did a hot meal, clean clothes, and a TV to watch.
What do we do next? Volunteers have looked at Aliza’s home. The condition of that little building is extreme. The cost to repair her home is much more than we are accustomed to spending on making minor repair for people. We hope to find donors who will be willing and able to finance rebuilding this home as well as volunteers to come and work on this project. If you would like to help with the repairs or with financial support please contact us at hopeforsderot.com.