During the months leading up to the fighting in July you could feel the increasing tension in the air. As usual, either utter doldrums of boredom in the blazing heat, with the usual annoyances, or life would suddenly get quite thrilling – as we listened intently for the steady bursting of shells. The situation was the worst it had been in some time.
The stalls in the local vegetable market were empty. My neighbor and I made a last dash to the nearby 7/7 shop and managed to score the few remaining basic food items and bottles of drinking water off the bare shelves before the owners closed the doors, locked the gate, loaded up their motorbike and headed out of town.
All but one of the banks had closed – and it was mobbed with people standing outside with bankbooks in hand watching the lucky ones in front receive hundreds, fifties, twenties, tens, fives, ones, and then, out of cash the bank simply closed its doors, leaving us all standing there with our worthless bankbooks.