Sunday 21 September 2014

Hope Amongst Oppression

I planned for this first article to be an introduction to my time in Palestine, but like many things in this unique place, plans always change. So much has happened since we touched down in Tel Aviv on Saturday night and rather than rambling through the chronological events that have occurred thus far, I thought I’d keep this piece short and sweet.

As I expected, the West Bank - although marred by a visible military occupation and a shattered economy - is beautiful. The people here are so positive, warming and extremely compassionate, all traits that seem to be embedded within Palestinian personalities. The group of volunteers I’m working with are equally as kind and friendly and I’m very much looking forward to working and living with them over the next three months. 

Today we had a guided tour around our local area in Abu Dis, a relaxed but welcoming village that borders Jerusalem. The village is surrounded by the West Bank separation barrier, a euphemism for the imposing concrete wall of apartheid which can reach up to 8 metres tall. This, amongst military watchtowers and a former Israeli military camp, is just a small reminder of the oppression of human rights that Palestinians in the West Bank suffer from on a daily basis. On a brighter note, we visited the Dar Assadaqa community centre that is where we will be spending a lot of time - working with Palestinian children and teenagers - rode a camel, visited the Tomb of Lazarus and also a maths museum.

As I sit writing this in our charming guest house in Abu Dis, I am filled with excitement for my stay in Palestine. I’m hoping to get as much out as I put into this trip and although my main focus is to support the work of CADFA, I’m sure I will it will have an inspiring impact upon me as an individual.

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