“As a model of creative recycling in one of the most densely populated places on earth, a Gaza Strip cafe is serving up a healthy dose of environmentalism alongside its signature morning coffee.
The beachside venue is part of the “Sea is Ours” co-operative, a complex built of reused wooden poles, plastic jugs, tyres and broken bricks by local playwright Ali Mhana and a group of friends.
“My mother wanted me to become a physician,” said Mhana, whose office there features a door off a refrigerator and windows that used to be washing machine doors.
“I don’t have to be a doctor for humans. I can be the doctor of the sea, a doctor of the community that suffers several illnesses.”
Dressed in a blue uniform, Mhana aims to ease at least some of those conditions through activities at a site that also houses a library, theatre and open event spaces where young and old can learn about conserving the environment.
“Jeans became plant vessels and a fan became a light decoration,” said mother-of-four Haneen Assamak after learning how things she used to throw out can be reused.
“We planted in empty jars, and the bottles were filled with sand and lights,” said Assamak, who now has a corner at home where she collects objects to be brought to Mhana for recycling.
“To me, this is happiness,” she told Reuters, sitting on a colourful chair made of car tyres.
Mhana said children visiting the site, which was provided by the Gaza municipality, instinctively understood the need to protect the environment….”