Laila Abudahi is free from the violence raging in Gaza. She made it safely through the Egyptian border on Wednesday.
Abudahi is a Fulbright Scholar enrolled in the University of Washington's graduate electrical engineering program.
Her Facebook status tells of a bittersweet day: A miracle got me to Cairo but my family stills in Gaza... [sic]
Abudahi expected to begin studying at UW this fall when the latest wave of fighting between Israel and Hamas erupted, closing the exits out of Gaza to many Palestinians.
The sound of bombs and families crying continue in Gaza, as they have for 22 days. The fighting between Israel and Hamas has killed more than 1,200 Palestinians and 56 Israelis.
For Laila Abudhai, 23, the pain has given way to exhaustion. She says Tuesday was the bloodiest day she has witnessed since the conflict erupted nearly three weeks ago.
The amount of blood I saw today, I really can't handle it anymore. We need a break, Abudahi said.
Abudahi is a Fulbright Scholar enrolled at the University of Washington's graduate electrical engineering program. Set to begin studies this fall, she missed her meeting in Jerusalem to obtain a visa due to the conflict.
For weeks, she's been unable to leave Gaza, reporting that all of the exits are closed to anyone but foreigners or some with extreme injuries.
Not being able to get this scholarship and study at UW is like killing me in some sort of way, Abudahi said.
Leaving Gaza, however, is secondary to leaving her home. Around the same time an Israeli strike destroyed Gaza's main power plant, her neighbor's home was also decimated, so Abudahi and her parents and four siblings took refuge at her uncle's home in Rafha, near the Egyptian border.
We are trapped here, not being able even to reach the market at the end of the street to get some food for our kids, she said.
They spent most of Tuesday without power or running water.
It's getting way more intense and it's getting more crazy here, Abudahi said.
KING 5 contacted Sen. Maria Cantwell's office in Washington D.C. on Abudahi's behaf. They reached out to the State Department, which reported an inability to help anyone who is not a U.S. citizen.
Abudahi cries when she thinks about the career dream she expected to chase in Seattle. She can't believe it was interrupted by such violence. It's the story behind the story that the world often can't see amid all of the smoke and destroyed homes and bloody streets.
Behind the fight for life itself, she says, is the fight for a life worth living at all.
I always tell my parents that a rocket won't kill me but stopping me from following my dreams will for sure.