Tuesday, October 16, 2012

noticing differences and a visit to Zebabde

On October 13th (the morning after we encountered the closed checkpoint), we were successfully able to enter the West Bank. When we crossed through the checkpoint from Israel to Palestine (the West Bank--Jenin, specifically), there were some immediate differences. The road went from perfectly smooth to bumpy and in disrepair. While in Israel we had been surrounded by fertile, green fields growing myriad, if incongruous, crops (pomegranates, cotton, olives, corn, and more), the land in Palestine was mostly brown and dry. Signs were no longer in Hebrew but in Arabic; the Palestinian flag flew instead of the Israeli one. License plates were no longer yellow but white and green (the occasional yellow plate belonging to an Arab Israeli). 

We drove to Zebabde, where we visited the Latin Patriarchate Secondary School and met with three members of its administration. They welcomed us with coffee, answered our many questions, and gave us a tour of the school. One of the biggest problems facing the school (and Palestinians in general), they said, is water. The Israeli water company pumps out the water from under the West Bank, uses it for Israel's needs/purposes, and sells back what remains to Palestinians for three times the cost. This explained all the barren fields I noticed immediately upon entering Palestine. Will said it well in the group's blog: "this is a structural inequity that allows Israeli settlements in the West Bank to have swimming pools, while Palestinians are rationed." 

Marietta and I learned that this particular school has hosted volunteers in the past to teach English--an important skill for children to learn if they hope to have a chance at higher education and jobs in the future. Upon becoming aware of my and Marietta's possible interest in such a position, they essentially offered it to us--a prospect that was at once flattering, exciting, and revelatory of how big the need is. They showed us the school's 'language lab,' which has not been/will not be in use until they can get a couple of volunteers (whether me, Marietta, or someone else :)) to fill the position. After leaving the school we drove to Bethlehem. Read the group blog's account of the day here.

"Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all." -Nelson Mandela

1 comment:

  1. Why do I get the feeling that after reading this Arizona may be put on the back burner for teaching English here? ;-)

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