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NOVEMBER 1974: Ali, reeking of tear gas, darts down an alley, listening for the thud of combat boots behind him. Living amidst the overcrowding, poverty, and political violence of the Kalandia Refugee Camp, Ali risks imprisonment or worse every time he throws a rock at the military occupation forces. Layth, the oldest of the four boys and titular head of the family, expects Ali to get a university degree. Their widowed mother keeps peace in the tiny house despite the violence outside. Experiencing tragedy and trauma, joy and fulfillment, they find hope and support within the family as they struggle for survival under extraordinarily difficult conditions.
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Dixiane Hallaj spent eleven years living and working in Jordan and the West Bank, raising her own family as part of her husband's extended family. The family had lived the refugee experience and shared this experience with her. She recently spent time in the refugee camps of the West Bank while researching her award-winning dissertation that studied stories and lives of illiterate women living in the camps.
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