After their day off, re-energized, the campers met up at the campus for our morning warm up. After that, the campers took the bus to Deir Ghassaneh. A small village in the west bank where they went for their first day of community service! The village has one small community center for the whole village, which serves as a playground for kids, and a reception hall for weddings and parties. Mustafa welcomed us in the morning to his town’s humble recreational center.
A wedding had just taken place the previous night and the local volunteers at the center were having difficulties keeping the place in shape as it was so widely used by the village as the only communal location. The campers came at the right time, as their help was much needed to fix up the place. Among the work that was done they first started by collecting all the trash that was lying around to clean up the place. They then dug holes around the compound to plant some young plants to add to the greenery of the area. Others were on weeding duty on the local holy shrine at the center of the compound and some fixed up the chicken wire fence while another group painted old car tires with bright colors to add to the playground. They were rewarded with a delicious dish of maklouba cooked by the local women.
After lunch the campers got back on the bus and headed to Nabi Saleh village. Home of the large Tamimi family who are subject to constant harassment by the local industrial settlements. We went on a Saturday, which is Sabbath, a holy day for Jews so as to avoid any type of risky exposure. The campers were welcomed by Janna Tamimi’s family, Janna being arguably the youngest reporter in the world. A strong inspirational 10-year-old girl made famous by her confrontational attitude towards the occupation and her awe-inspiring patriotism and determination to her people. The campers were shown an emotional short film about Nabi Saleh and the difficult situation they live followed by a Q&A session with the Tamimi family. As they left they saw the seemingly endless multitudes of empty tear gas canisters hanged around the village as a reminder of the struggle that they face. We headed back to Ramallah a bit shook up by what we had witnessed but it was nonetheless a necessary part of the experience.