Wednesday 26 August 2015

A Month in Abu Dis: Summer Camp Fashion Show!

One of the volunteers here came up with a brilliant and basically free activity idea: recycled fashion. We brought a random collection of rubbish, bin bags, bottles, boxes and coloured paper to the camp and asked the children to come up with some outfits. Here are their creations!

The raw materials

Even the boys got into it!

Hard at work

Outfit number 1

Outfit number 2

Funky glasses

They even made hoes!

Show time!

Everyone joined in

The top three creations - check out the hummus pot/hat!

Reaching New Heights

Last Thursday the children participating in CADFA’s summer camp rose to a new challenge; becoming Abu Dis’ first rock climbers.

The children arrived at the camp very excited, “tessolluck Roisin, tessolluck” (climbing Roisin, climbing). After checking everyone had water and suitable footwear we set off on our adventure. An hour and a half later and with lots of singing our minibuses pulled into Ein Qiniya, a small village outside of Ramallah. There we were greeted by a member of staff from Wadi Climbing, Anas, who informed the children of their first challenge; a half hour uphill hike to the crag. When we reached the top, having rested under the shade of a few olive trees, Tim, the founder of Wadi Climbing, talked the children through the ins and outs of climbing. He then set the children off on one of the four routes he had set up for the day. Wadi Climbing was set up a year ago by Tim and his business partner, Will, to promote climbing as a sport in Palestine and has so far taken 900 people on climbing trips in the West Bank.

Climbing regularly myself I had forgotten how strange it might be for the children to be lowered down at the end of the climb. One boy was not convinced about trusting and placing his weight on the rope and had to be talked through the process for nearly half an hour before he felt ready to come down. But after overcoming the initial uncertainties the children really enjoyed the climbing, with most flying up all four of the routes.

Two sisters stood out for the day for me. In my (unbiased) opinion they were the best climbers of the day; they had really good technique and were very natural on the rock. I was concerned before the trip that we would not have many girls sign up as I was not sure if parents would feel climbing was a suitable activity for their daughters. This proved not to be an issue for the majority of girls at the summer camp and it was really encouraging to see the sisters showing that climbing is as much a sport for women as it is for men.

Rock climbing was a big hit with the children of Abu Dis and we are very thankful to Wadi Climbing for running the trip for the summer camp. If anyone would like to find out more about Wadi Climbing’s work in Palestine visit their webpage, Well done everyone, keep up the climbing!! 

About to set off on the first climb

Go team girls!

Rocking the backwards helmet look

Pre-climb orientation

Thanks Tim for a brilliant day

Monday 17 August 2015

My first week in Abu Dis

I arrived in Abu Dis last Tuesday having spent two weeks participating in the Lajee Centre’s 15th International Summer Camp in Aida Camp, Bethlehem. As soon as I arrived I was adopted by the local volunteers. The summer camp has been great fun so far; the highlight being a trip to an outdoor swimming complex in Jericho. The children were in their element there and, even after 4 hours of swimming, ice creams and falafel were not enough to prise them out of the water. At the weekend the local volunteers took us to visit Nabi Musa, a 13th century mosque believed to mark the grave of Moses (Nabi Musa). The following day we visited Nablus and after wandering around the Souk took a short taxi ride to a nearby village, Sebastia. There we explored Roman ruins and a Byzantine church. As we were enjoying the sunset over Nablus one of the local volunteers received news that a 21 year old Palestinian had been shot dead at a nearby check point. UN figures show that since the beginning of this year an average of 37 Palestinians a week have been injured by the Israeli forces. Despite visiting lots of human rights NGOs with the Lajee centre, such as the Badil Centre and Addameer, and talking with ex-prisoners I still find it hard to fully comprehend all that people have to endure here. If you would like to find out more about Saturday’s shooting the linked article may be of interest, R
Enjoying the swimming pools in Jericho

Nabi Musa