Nathaniel Bailey (Kent State University)
Award of Excellence
Domestic Picture Story
In April 2018, eleven-year-old Abdelrahman Nofal (Abood) of Gaza lost his leg to an Israeli soldier's bullet. In August, he came to the US for treatment, where he recovered both physically and emotionally, and found a community, forming strong bonds and intimate friendships with many of the people he came into contact with.
Abood holds the base of his left leg where it was amputated as Hanadi Mujahed, his teacher who he grew close too, watches. Abood’s leg was sore from spending the afternoon walking on his new prosthesis.
Abood does pushups on his crutches in the Mousa’s family room. He spent about one month living with the Mousa family near Warren, OH. They hosted him as he was fitted for his prosthesis, and grew very close to him during his time in the United States.
Yousef Mousa pulls Abood from the swimming pool. Abood did not want to leave, and had been refusing to get out of the water. During his time in the United States, the two formed a close bond. Yousef described his feelings toward Abood as that of an older brother.
Noor Bahhur tearfully kisses Abood goodbye before her father drove him to the airport, telling him to stay in touch. For the last few weeks of his time in the United States, Abood lived with the Bahhur family, growing very close to Noor and her brother Omar. “I think he saw us as siblings,” Noor said. “For a boy who’s 11, who lost his leg, he never had a dull moment. I’ve never seen him without a smile — even though he’s thousands of miles away from his family.”
Abood climbs onto a fence with an early fitment of his prosthesis, trying to see the dog barking on the other side.
Abood tries to remember how to say “water-cooler” in English after his teacher, Hanadi Mujahed, asks. He first gave a sarcastic, joking answer in Arabic. During some of his time in the United States, Abood attended school at the Yunus Emre Muslim Community Center, where he grew close to Hanadi, spending some weekends with her and her brothers.
The Mujahed brothers pick up Abood, carrying him in response to his complaints about walking throughout the Cleveland zoo, as Abood pretends to celebrate a soccer goal.
Abood rests on Omar Mujahed’s shoulder during a piggy-back ride. Omar is one of Hanadi Mujahed’s brothers, who was one of Abood’s teachers during his time in the United States.