Thursday 19 June 2014

Arriving, getting started and the World Cup

Having arrived in Tel Aviv on the 10th of June and spending a few days trying my best not to get sunburnt (unsuccessfully), I went to Jerusalem to meet up with Jack, another volunteer, and head to Abu Dis.

I was shown round the apartment I’ll be staying in and a bit of the town before the inevitable question came up, where shall we watch today’s World Cup games? World Cup fever has definitely hit Abu Dis it seems and with every new person that I am introduced to, I get a kindly reminder from them of how England lost their opening game. Thanks!

That evening’s big game was Germany vs. Portugal and a local coffee shop was the venue at which to watch the match. Here I met Hossam a local volunteer who works at Dar Assadaqa and his friend Sharif. Portugal received a thrashing and provided some mirth for the locals as I seemed to be the only one supporting them.

For the second match of the evening, we went to the local Nadi (youth club) and watched the game on a big screen. At half time, there was a raffle with some prizes given out following which most of the kids there left as that seemed far more important than the second half of Iran Nigeria!

View of Abu Dis from our balcony.

On Tuesday morning, I went to Dar Assadaqa where I met with Abed, the co-ordinator for CADFA and the EVS project in Abu Dis and Moussa, another local volunteer. In the scorching heat, Moussa showed me round a bit more of the town, the music centre and the prisoner museum at the local Al Quds University. The museum was a stark reminder that so many Palestinians have suffered and continue to suffer in jail without proper trials or other rights that should be afforded to them.

In the afternoon, I spent some time with some local kids at Dar Assadaqa. I was treated to some plays the kids had just learnt before teaching them the game of ‘Ninja’ where a boy by the name of Basil was just too fast for me!
I also held a conversational English class with some kids aged between 12-16. Having not prepared any proper subjects to talk about, I just asked them about what they liked doing, favourite foods, aspirations etc. It seems Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers are the main careers of choice with sleep as the favourite leisure activity!

At one point, I asked them what do they know about life in England i.e. food, customs, leisure. The first thing that answered was that people in England don’t live under occupation, another reminder of the situation these kids are living in every day.

The evening was taken up by, of course, more World Cup football. This time, we watch the match at a coffee shop right next to the separation wall. We also heard the parade of cars beeping their horns and waving flags letting us know that two local boys Adam and Johar, who had been shot and arrested by the IDF, had been released!

Watching the football with the separation wall backdrop.
Abu Dis’ locals have all been friendly, welcoming and genuinely interested in spending time with us volunteers. Its early days yet but I’m excited to get to the town and its residents better as well spending time at Dar Assadaqa with the local youths. 

No comments:

Post a Comment