Women in Bastan Village, Kurdistan

Monday, July 26, 2010

Greeting the Soldiers ( July 18, 2010-Bethlehem)

I can’t believe I’ve been here already 3 weeks. First, all the travel to get to Jerusalem, then the intense week of lecture after lecture covering many aspects of the conflict. Then my first week in the farm, the kids at the summer camp…It has been so intense, preparing everyday for the next day workshops. Trying to convey a message to the kids and to take the kids out of the so harsh environment that they are exposed to every day because of the occupation. Then adjusting myself to the harsh conditions of living in a farm. Yesterday I was driving with Daoud to Bethlehem and just asked him if the farm was located in area A or B, and to my surprise he responded that we are living in Area C. During the intifada, the farm was completely isolated. The two only accesses it has, one to the main road that goes to Bethlehem and one to the village of Nahalin were completely blocked. Daoud said that they had to transport supplies using donkeys. Here, we don’t have running water or electricity, because the Israeli government does not provide any infrastructure, well, only to the settlements. Taking a bath is only allowed for 1 minute and not every day, most of the people do every three days. The food is great at the farm. We have Abu Farid as our chef. He works at a school in Hebron but is on vacation now, so he is helping to cook for the summer camp volunteers. Everyday we have visitors from different countries. We have had Canadians, Dutch, German, Dutchs. They stay for one or two day to learn about the situation here.

On Thursday (July 15), after the camp was over, I took the bus back to Bethlehem with the kids and on Friday morning I returned with them in the morning with the bus. When we got into the roadblock, the soldiers were there and some of the kids were greeting them and giving them the good mornings and shalom. The soldiers surprised replied to the shalom (Hebrew) or the assalamu alaykum with a smile. One of the most spoiled adventured to shake the hand of one of the soldiers and the soldier didn’t know what to do to such a gesture, but one had holding the gun and the other holding the child’s hand the two hands met. It was a beautiful moment, all the conflict melted away in those three seconds.


  1. that's how it's done. a smile, a handshake, a look into each other's eyes.... melting the conflict.... one child, one soldier at a time.

  2. Wauuu impresionante. SIN RENCOR!!

  3. Johanna me encanta que estes documentando tu viaje. Estoy tan orgullosa de ti.. de lo que haces y los que piensas. Te amo por quien eres y tu eres una persona muy muy especial. Dios te de mucha fuerza y sabiduria para continuar.
    Te amo muchisimo!!
    Cuidate porfavor!!