The night I visitted Sheikh Jarrah and the family living in the tent was very very cold. Since AV Guesthouse does not have heat turned on in the bedroom where I stayed, I felt like I was living in a tent. There was a western style shower in my room but I was too cold to even think about enjoying this luxury. But it was a good day. I ate breakfast with some of the EAPPIs who were not on checkpoint duty (they monitor the checkpoints to provide an international presence and also do statistics for the UN) and then headed over to Lutheran World Federation where I met with the staff and had a tour of the grounds. LWF has 800 olive trees and internationals help harvest them this time of year. The oil is pressed by a local monastery and sold to people all over the world to benefit the health services to the poor provided by Augusta Victoria Hospital. I painted a sketch from the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. You might say it was a peak experience. (Ha Ha.) Then I joined a group from US and Canada touring the grounds with Rev. Mark Brown who administers LWF. We picked olives together before I got on the Augusta Victoria bus to go back to the Bethlehem checkpoint. AV has a bus which transports patients and staff from the West Bank to the hospital; otherwise, staff nurses, physicians and other members of the health care team would not be able to get to work on time and patients would not be able to come. It’s an added expense for the hospital but one that is necessary. I spoke with a nurse on the bus who lives in Bethlehem. She gets up before 4 in the morning to take a taxi to the checkpoint where she waits for hours to get through. Then she can get the AV bus. The bus got us back to Bethlehem around 4:15. There was a crowd going through the checkpoint and I wanted to observe but I am clearly an international so I was expedited through and didn’t see much, except for an Arab man making prostrations in the courtyard as the call to prayer was broadcast from a nearby mosque.
Today I’ve had 6 hours of teaching. The classes are going very well. Students are really beginning to get the hang of the techniques I have brought them. They are beginning to take hold of them and to think about what they want to say and how they might say it. We have begun to talk with some of them about the emotional impact inherent in various colors. It is really gratifying to see them enjoying the materials and working out their ideas a little bit.
I’d like to show you a picture of the classwork tonight, but one of the EAPPIs from Jerusalem has given me permission to use one of his pictures. So here is a picture by Terry Crawford Browne. It is a picture of the Jewish settlers on the roof of the house they are occupying, the house that belongs to the Palestinians living in the tent across the street. I think it is important to give this photo a broader viewing, so when you read that the Israelis feel they should have a right to live anywhere in Jerusalem that they want, you understand that what that means in some cases is that they will take the homes of others by force.