Sunday 11 August 2019

7th August - Our last evening in Abu Dis, was a farewell treat of a short play, singing, dancing and tributes from the children. We had a great time. Unfortunately I don't understand much of what is being said... but got the sentiment.

It was difficult saying goodbye and looking back over the photos and videos of the last couple of weeks makes me all warm :)  - I love these kids, they are amazing!

This of course was made possible by Cadfa and the other amazing volunteers. I have made some great friends and would like to thank Nuria especially - I think we made a great team, and with our fellow volunteer Megan and translator / volunteers Hannah, Balqees and Svetlana. It was challenging yet very rewarding. I have had an incredibly wonderful 3 weeks.

Of course my family, friends and colleagues all played a part in making this happen too and I thank you all for your support and donations.

I hope this has opened some eyes and helped to promote awareness of the ongoing Israeli / Palestinian conflict; Israel are continuing to break international law with ever expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank; Palestinian territory. It is one of may ongoing human rights issues there.

 Megan had a great idea to get them to sign our t-shirts - we all liked this :)

August 6th - another visit to the Bedouin Camp.

We visited late in the afternoon with the students, and for what appeared to be for no apparent reason, two armoured vehicles from the Israeli army stopped traffic up and down the only road to the camp, for at least an hour. This is an every day occurrence here. They want the land here & access to the area around it to extend their illegal settlements. Settlements which are actually on Abu Dis land - illegal according to INTERNATIONAL law!
They eventually let traffic move ONLY when they realised a minibus had our fellow friends of Cadfa - the Arabic speaking group on board, many nationalities including English, Spanish & Dutch ladies, who were joining us for an evening meal at the Bedouin camp.
However, not long after letting them through the soldiers fired 3 shots of teargas just below us in the valley .. luckily it didn’t affect us, but was this a reminder of who has power? Who has control here?
I felt really intimidated by it - as if they were saying “we will never let Palestine rest easy”.. this is a constant psychological torture, to break the Palestinian people.
The children just got on with playing and made the most of their time here, in one of the very few playgrounds available to them.

 Great football despite the telegraph pole in the middle of the pitch!

A rare sighting of clouds!

We were made some very delicious dishes and they were gratefully eaten :)

 Dr Fadwa made this for all of us, we were invited round to eat with the ladies from the Arabic speaking group. I think this was called mmsakhan (?) - please correct me if I got this wrong.

 Kanafeh in Nablus..
 Maqluba... slowly, slowly does it

The Abu Dis girls football team, some of whom will be here in the UK in the autumn, hopefully I will get to see them :)

Another summer camp, in Abu Dis, practising Dabke in the cooler evenings, it's the traditional Palestinian dance..

Chatterboxes, flowers and designing their own artwork on canvas bags - very creative fun.
Bags and fabric markers, sticks and coloured paper all courtesy of Nuria and her magnificent organisational skills and planning.

Teaching days in July & August were fun with our enthusiastic and energetic students.
We researched the internet and asked our teacher friends for guidance on teaching English to students that speak a foreign language and found many suitable games, for example pictionary.

We had to change it up a bit as our students were as young as 6yrs old and up to 16yrs old, they appeared to enjoy it, and each day we grew a little more confident in our endeavours. It was definitely a rewarding experience.

Here are some photos ... can you guess what they are?

We all made good use to of the white board..

..And asked them what they liked and disliked, they loved the yoga cards that Nuria brought :)

We also had fun with 'Natural Disasters' and 'Chinese whispers'...