Saturday 16 August 2014

Summer with the kids of Abu Dis

 During the summer, the volunteers here at Dar Assadaqa have run programs, classes and activities for the kids and students in Abu Dis. We had a great time doing activities involving drama, games, music and other general programs for kids of all ages.

 Games such as ‘Ninja’, ‘Statues’ and ‘Rainbow Parachute’ were pretty popular, with one kid called Basel easily the most competitive. Mousa and Selina helped with the drama groups and the girls and boys put on separate plays for us after a bit of encouragement. The music lesson was hectic to say the least. Jack would take the kids to the music centre which had all sorts of percussion instruments, guitars and keyboards where the kids would strum, bash and play them in some sort of organised chaos. It wasn’t Mozart but the kids seem to enjoy it!

 I would run conversational English classes for older students form the local schools and university. The students were fun and enthusiastic and all harboured ambitions of becoming doctors, lawyers and engineers. I was surprised at the level of English most of the students were able to understand. Proper grammar and spelling would come in time, but most could easily hold a conversation in their second language, something most British people can’t do!

 On the last day of the summer camp, we took the kids down to Abu Dis Gardens for a send-off. There was a DJ, clowns, games, dancing and singing. It was swelteringly hot but it didn’t stop the kids (and volunteers) form enjoying themselves for a few hours.

 As Ramadan came, the kids and students stayed at home. Now with a couple of weeks of summer left and then schools and universities starting up again, we hope to run some more programs with the local kids and students soon.

Monday 4 August 2014


This blog has many entries about the continual Israeli army intrusions into Abu Dis. The volunteers here, for our own safety, stay inside the guest house when these incursions occur. Last week however, we inadvertently witnessed one of these invasions first-hand.

We had ventured out to our local café with some friends for a game of pool and cards when we heard some commotion outside. Cars started beeping their horns (more so than usual) and people were hurrying down the road. Hearing shouts of ‘Jaysh’ (army), the café quickly emptied out and closed down. One guy ran into the back and came out with gasmask and slingshot at the ready, clearly prepared for this event as it happens so often.

As we left the café, we glanced up the road and could see soldiers advancing for the top of the street. There had been no clash that evening, no protest, no discernable reason we could gather as to why the army had come into Abu Dis. It was the last day of Ramadan and the streets were very busy with people buying supplies for the start of Eid. There were mixed reports as to whether it was live fire or rubber bullets but the soldiers started indiscriminately shooting. We safely moved down the street and back to the guest house and we started hearing reports of injuries. 14 people had been hit, mostly in the legs before the army moved out again. 

Israeli Soldiers in Abu Dis on the Eve of Eid