Feature: Gazan amputee driver struggles to put life back on track

It’s not easy to accept yourself without legs, but you can challenge your fears and continue your life as a normal guy,” Saad Allah Annaba, 39, told Xinhua while sitting in his wheelchair and cleaning his white car.

Living in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza Strip, Annaba works as a driver after he lost his legs in an Israeli war plane attack in 2004.

As a father of three, Annaba starts his day with sports including push-ups exercises to rebuild his upper body. Then he goes to work as a driver.

At first, Annaba said passengers feared for their safety when getting on a disabled driver’s car.

“Some of the passengers were afraid of me, and the others thought that I would kill them by accident,” he said, adding that after a while they accepted and supported him to continue his career as a driver.

“To live without legs is not easy, but the most difficult thing for the amputees is when they immerse themselves with their disability and cannot live as normal guys,” Annaba said.

He added that he was forced to work as a driver due to the hard-living conditions that he and his family are experiencing, amid the hard economic situations in the Gaza Strip.

Annaba is also a wheelchair basketball player who has won several champions and bronze and gold medals. He keeps going to the gym and practicing the weightlifting to make his body athletic.

“Sport is very important for me and for everyone who live in Gaza Strip, it helps us to get rid of negative energy and gives us positive energy to challenge the difficulties,” Annaba said.

According to Annaba, most of the wounded youths especially the amputated ones are suffering from depression, so he volunteers to support them psychologically.

He often visits wounded people in hospitals in Gaza Strip. ” I do all my best to help the other amputees people to overcome their sadness and continue their lives,” Annaba said.

Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, right after the Islamic Hamas movement ruled the enclave after rounds of fighting with the loyal forces of the Palestinian Authority.

Since then, the economy in the Gaza Strip has been deteriorating with a hard living conditions for its people.