In her backyard in Deir al Balah, in the central of the besieged Strip, Intissar Abu Mandeel sits in front of the dates that have been separated from seeds and then dried in the heat of the sun to make the famous Ajwa.
Intissar began this seasonal work in 2007, refusing to give up to the blockaded Gaza’s harsh reality.
“The beginning was very simple. I wanted to make even a tiny change in Gaza’s harsh reality. I found that the idea of making Ajwa would be great to help me and my family earn some extra money.” Abu Mandeel said.
She explained the stages of making the Ajwa as the following: First she dries the dates. Then, she peels them and removes them from the seeds. Finally, she exposes them to the sun heat.
“This process takes some long time, but at the end I make and sell them to the people in the neighborhood.” Abu Mandeel added, “I make around 300-400 kg of the Ajwa per year.”
Over the last 13 years, Intissar gained a lot of experience and managed to build relations with different women’s organisations. She said that now her 2020 production of Ajwa reached nearly two tons.