Since they were kids, Fares and Fahed have used parkour as a way to cope with their lives in Gaza. Now in their teens, the friends spend the long summers days running across bombed out buildings with a group of roughly 20 other young men. Of his hobby, Fares says: "I don't know about the future, we live under siege. This is the only thing that makes us feel free."
For the past few years, the group used a clubhouse to meet and train, but they were forced to abandon their meeting place during last year's 51 days of conflict with Israel. Without the clubhouse they now practice outdoors, favoring the crowded streets and the beach, where they can land on sand to break their falls.
Those in the group practice whenever they can, ideally for several hours a day. The heat means they often have to limit their training to the early mornings and evenings.
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Despite the issues and the uncertainty in which they live, Fares says parkour is a welcome break from his responsibilities. His father died when he was two, and he lives with his siblings and mother. Without their father's income, they live on monthly benefits from the government and support from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). "Gaza is an end," Fares says. "We live here because there is no other choice. This is the life we have, and we just make it work."
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