Tuesday 11 August 2015

A Month in Abu Dis: Start of the Summer Camp

The summer camp at Dar Assadaqa started the first Sunday of August. With the unprecedented heat, 40+ degrees (apparently up to 10 degrees above average), every morning we wait wondering how many kids will brave the sun on their walk over. So far, so good, we usually have 20 to 30 kids every day, aged 7 to 17.

Some of the children come from as far as East Jerusalem, via the checkpoints. Apparently there aren’t many affordable summer camps available and it can be difficult to keep kids, especially teenagers, off the streets and out of trouble. Just last Monday, a grenade went off in a street close to Dar Assadaqa and there was some debate about whether it was safe to let the kids leave in case the Israeli army arrived. Luckily, there was no escalation and everyone got home safely.

We have rediscovered (the Arab versions) of Chinese whispers, rock-paper-scissors, hangman, haraka stop (walk stop) and mime games. The language barrier is a bit of a struggle, especially with the younger ones. I’m learning some Arabic as I go along and we’re slowly teaching some English to the kids (or at least trying our best!), with a lot of help from the Palestinian volunteers. There also isn’t much available at the centre in terms of games to play, so we’re having to be a bit more creative, one of the results being an empty water bottle bowling set that has proved pretty popular! (If anyone has ideas, please do feel free to suggest)

On Tuesday, we took the kids around Al Quds University and the Prisoners Museum. At the university, they discovered lectures rooms, computer rooms and a mock tribunal in the law faculty. In the Prisoners museum, there were posters on display demanding the liberation of prisoners and photos of the detention centres. There was also a reconstructed prison cell. We finished the day off in the university gym with a big musical chairs game! 
Musical Chairs

The last two contestants!

In the Prisoners Museum

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