Saturday 15 August 2015

A Month in Abu Dis: Summer Camp Trip to Bethlehem

Thursdays are day trip days at the summer camp. This time, the destination was Bethlehem.

The first stop was the Lajee Centre in Aida refugee camp. Aida refugee camp is just on the outskirts of Bethlehem, with its edges cut off by the separation wall. 5000 people, including 3000 children live there. The camp was set up in 1950 as a temporary home for the many Arabs who had to flee their villages during the war in 1948, hence the big key over the entrance of the camp, symbolizing their desire to return. The Lajee Centre (lajee means refugee in Arabic) was set up as a cultural and educational place for the youth of Aida camp. They do really fantastic work, you should check out their website (it will explain things better than I could):
And some articles on the Lajee Centre and Aida camp: (a roof gardening project in Aida)

Aida Camp

Some of the graffiti on the wall 

The children were given a talk explaining what refugees are and life at Aida camp. We then walked around Aida and spent some time in the lovely garden and playground of the Lajee centre. 
The Lajee Centre Playground

Tear gas canisters we found in the playground

After visiting the camp, we went over to a park to play in the shade during the hottest hours of the day. The kids especially enjoyed the swing set!

The final stop was more cultural: the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square in Bethlehem (of which I have apparently failed to take a decent photo of - google will have to be your friend!).

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