This, needless to say, is considered a holy city. The population of Hebron, which is over 215,000 people, is mainly inhabited by poor people. We visit the city, and in order to enter the old Hebron, we have to go through a security checkpoint. Everything goes smoothly, and we visit one of the families that receives support from SOS Palestine. The family lives in an ancestral home, built in a very traditional way, with the ground floor, and two opposite wings with steep steps on either side. We are received very warmly, by a lady and her 6 children.
The family is composed of mother, father, and 6 children. The father is very sick. The mother was jobless and sick too. She had lost all hope of ever making it in life, there was no chance of a forth coming job or the possibility of any kind of support. The last born, aged 12, was born around the time the father fell ill, and several misfortunes have befallen that family since then.
SOS works in strengthening families and ensuring that children stay with their families in a safe and supportive environment. The team of social workers and psychologists worked so hard to ensure that the family`s psychosocial, psychoemotional, and financial needs were fulfilled. The mother was supported to attend catering course and buy basic equipment to practice what she learned, and then make a living out of that. She proudly showed us the work of her hands – she had made different types of sandwiches, pastries, chocolate, various sweets, and other types of food. She is very enthusiastic about life now, and is starting to train other ladies in the neighborhood so that they too can learn and earn a living. Now her eldest son is in university studying civil engineering, while the other siblings are all in school at different levels. Asked what they want to do in the future, each of the children had something creative to say.
This one lady, out of a large number of people, has defied all odds to make an improvement in her life and that of the family. They have decided not to allow their past to define them.
Most Palestinians have been exposed to different types of traumas, and the one that is predominant is epigenetic trauma.
Sigmund Freud once said that traumatic re-enactment, or what he called Repetition Compulsion, is an attempt of the unconscious to replay what is unresolved in order to get it right. This unconscious drive to relive past events could be one of the mechanisms at work when families repeat unresolved traumas in future generations. This affects the life of an individual, family, and society at large. When this is not addressed, consequences can be seen in a person`s relationships, ability to adapt, ability to think independently, learning, physical health, how one deals with stress, and other areas.
Healing epigenetic trauma and other traumas is possible. Human beings have the capacity to heal. We can change the way our brain works. Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis make this possible, and the lady cited above has actively engaged in transforming her life and that of her family.