The Voting Box

A guest post by Rasha Sansur

I am a rectangular medium sized cardboard box, wrapped in yellow paper with leaves decoration. The closet, my home, opens and I squint my eyes from spending hours in the dark. I admire the bit of light that enters through the opening. Someone gently picks me up. I am placed in a brown paper bag. These gentle hands open me, place a stack of small white pieces of paper inside me, then close me with my lid. The papers inside me are getting excited! They are eager to be written on.

A few seconds later, I see those gentle hands releasing a bundle of blue pens inside the bag, I salute them. They salute me back eagerly as they already know that all of us are going to spend the day in the community. Someone lifts the brown paper bag, and I enjoy the feeling of floating around. I hear a car door open, and I am placed inside the trunk.

A couple of hours later, someone opens the trunk, it’s the same hands that I am so familiar with. They grab the bag from the handles, and once again, I am floating around, until I am placed inside a makeshift tent. I realize the people around me are all women, it seems it’s an event for the Women Supporting Women program from the Dalia Association, the organization that houses the closet, my home. The program, as I am told from my neighboring paper documents in the closet, involves women groups to identify local community needs and priorities in their district, where they decide on which initiative and projects benefits them and their community needs.

I wait on the table while I listen to creative ideas that these women present to their community, like a woman is presenting her idea of using the wool from their herds of sheep to create products to generate income for the women of that region. I stay on that table and watch hands grab the delicious food around me.

An hour later, someone opens my lid, takes out the little pieces of paper, and they distribute them to the crowd of women. The women write down numbers on the papers with excitement, then I am lifted and moved around these women as each one of them drops their piece of paper inside me. Enthusiastic whispers are heard all around. The person who is carrying me closes my lid. I get a little dizzy as he shuffles me around. Then he opens me and takes out the pieces of paper one by one, reading the numbers on them. The numbers are counted on a flip chart. I hear the numbers one and two more than three and four.

Then someone announces the results, 17 counts for project 1, which so happens to be the wool project. The crowd of women start clapping with joy. The community has decided that she will receive the small community grant to start her business idea. My role is done for the day. I am back in the brown bag and inside the trunk of the car.

Two hours later, I am home in the closet. This is just one day from my journey across beautiful Palestine. I eagerly wait for the gentle hands to pick me up again, so I can channel the voices of the people, their decisions, and their desires to achieve their own development for generations to come.

Rasha Sansur is the Communication and Reporting Officer at Dalia Association. Dalia Association is a community foundation that works to increase the transparency, accountability and professionalism of community-led initiatives that support self-determination in the occupied Palestinian territories. It mobilizes and links resources to decrease dependence on international aid and promotes philanthropy through culture change and development of funding mechanisms. Dalia Association also advocates for systemic change in the international aid system. You can follow their work on Facebook and Twitter

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