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The Hummingbirds

Capturing the spirit of the people of Gaza


As a writer and coach on the subject of abuse and trauma, over the years I have studied a number of different modalities in order to help survivors of trauma including voice dialogue and some other more esoteric spiritual practices which also include trusting out gut feelings and following our intuition especially when we are in situations that are dangerous. I've also become far more connected with nature and the hidden meanings we interpret when encountering things such as animals.

With the trip Gaza about to start in a few days whilst many of us may be able to empathize with their suffering to some degree it behoves us as human beings to try to do whatever we can to help.

My first experience with Palestinians was travelling and working abroad in Israel when I was 17 on a kibbutz, almost 33 years ago. My boss at the time was none to happy at my decision to leave a promising career in retail banking to gallivant off to another country nor could he understand my reasons for going. In all honesty I was searching for excitement and new experiences. It was only a couple of months into my stay that I started to realise something was wrong. Working on a kibbutz we did everything from picking oranges to milking cows however the significance of being asked to help produce bomb cases by the Israeli Kibbutz was something I couldn't quite grasp back then. I refused to work there and a few weeks later a woman I'd met through my travels was physically escorted off the Kibbutz and asked to leave. Their reasons for evicting her – because she had befriended a Palestinian!

The day she left I joined her and we ended up staying in Nazareth in an apartment spending all our time with Palestinians and their families. I was given a necklace by a Palestinian who tried to explain what has happening in his broken English. He gave me a necklace which I have worn and carried around for years. Even though I didn't quite understand the full implication of what had happened I made a promise to myself to go back at some point in the future. Little did I know I'd be returning 33 years later.

So why does the hummingbird represent the people of Palestine?

hummingbirds of gaza

According to some spiritual people who believe in the power of animal totems the hummingbird symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being. This beautiful bird is capable of the most amazing feats despite its small size, such as travelling great distances or being able to fly backwards. The hummingbird invites us to develop our adaptability and resiliency while keeping a playful and optimistic outlook. The Hummingbird also invites us to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and take time to enjoy yourself. On a more extreme level by using the analogy of the Hummingbird you may be required to adapt to a situation that are demanding or challenging. The wisdom carried by this beautiful animal emphasizes flexibility and lightness in your approach to the unexpected.

The hummingbird, is indicative of strong sensibility and the ability to move to be flexible and move swiftly. When we tune into our senses we are able to feel every emotion both positive and negative. On an more extreme level this may lead to instability as we shift rapidly from one feeling or mood to another without warning. Furthermore, the hummingbird totem wisdom could challenge you to figure out how to stand strong while being able to move quickly and fly high, whether it’s through your personal or spiritual aspirations.

One of the things that strikes me the most about the Palestinian people when I visited all those years ago was their optimism, resilience and joy considering everything that has happened to them over the years since the occupation of Palestinian in 1947 .

Much like the hummingbird they are given no choice but to adapt swiftly to ever changing situations which includes having their houses destroyed, human rights violations and dealing with trauma EVERY single day. Anyone who has been in the receiving end of ANY kind abuse knows how hard it to avoid being re-traumatised however imagine for a moment having PTSD and being traumatised over and over again. Imagine having to switch from one emotion to another in order to literally survive and yet despite this the people of Gaza remain joyful.

Palestine is one of the smallest countries in the world and Gaza as a state is minuscule compared to many places on the planet. Much like the hummingbird which is one of the smallest birds, it can travel great distances and characterized by their resiliency and ability to run great distances tirelessly. Ironically, despite its size at the end of 2011, there were at least 7.4 million displaced Palestinians representing 66 percent of the entire Palestinian population constitute one of the largest numbers of displaced people on the planet!

And yet the Palestinian people and those in Gaza retain the true spirit of the Hummingbird by remaining joyful, compassionate and sensitive in the face of EXTREME adversity.

Despite everything they are still shining which is exactly the reason why the people of Gaza inspired me to go there and do something to help and bring their story back. For this reason I shall be documenting and writing about the abuse in particular as it relates to Children and hope to publish a book raising awareness provisionally called the “Hummingbirds of Gaza”.

Please join me in my journey and those of the other amazing participants who have taken it upon themselves to do something as well.


Sarah Strudwick



Hummingbirds of Gaza

"Like the hummingbird the people of Gaza are given no choice but to adapt swiftly to ever changing situations which includes having their houses destroyed, human rights violations and dealing with trauma every single day. The Palestinian people and those in Gaza retain the true spirit of the Hummingbird by remaining joyful, compassionate and sensitive in the face of extreme adversity."

- Sarah -


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