Jabal el Baba

Today the campers learned about some of the harder aspects of living in Palestine.  We began our visit to Jabal al-Baba - a mountain with an interesting past. Near Jerusalem and under the jurisdiction of the Vatican, Jabal al-Baba is currently home to a small Bedouin population.  Atallah, our guide, is not only a leader amongst the residents of the mountain but is an activist in his own right.  Though life for the Bedouin community on the mountain has been made very hard by the Occupation, the community has amazingly remained in the land.  We hiked all over the mountain with Atallah, seeing views of Jerusalem, the settlements, and of the village itself.  Once our hike was done, we enjoyed a traditional Bedouin meal called Zarb, a mixture of carrots, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and chicken cooked for hours on top of hot coals underneath the ground.

After our time at Jabal al-Baba, we made our way to the small village of Nabi Saleh where we were graciously hosted by Manal Tamimi in her family home.  Manal and her family have been greatly affected by a nearby settlement.  She and her husband have amazingly worked to document their lives as well as educate others of the hardships in Palestine.  Her husband, Bilal, is a cameraman, and has been filming for years.  Through the emotional conversation, campers were able to get a very real sense of the ways in which villages have been differently affected by the Occupation.  We walked with Manal to a hilltop where we had a view of both the town and the encroaching settlement - less than half a mile away.

The day allowed campers to ground their newfound knowledge of some of the hardships of the area in both personal narratives and physical representations.  We all were deeply inspired by the speakers and the resilience that they showed in the face of hardship.