Today we made our way up to the north of Palestine towards Jenin. In the region best known for its agricultural practices, we commenced with our second day of community service work. We are currently in the middle of almond harvesting season, when the fruits containing the seeds dry out and begin to crack. The campers spent a few hours in the almond orchard picking the dried almond fruit off the trees. The farm is connected to the Canaan Corporation, an organic, fair trade company attempting to revitalize Palestinian communities through agriculture. The almonds grown are native to the region, unique in that the shell covering the nut itself is soft enough to remove with only your hands - needless to say, many of the campers snacked on almonds straight off the tree, cracking the dried green husk and fibrous shell in order to feast on the almond within.
After the community service, we found ourselves in the midst of the ancient Burqeen village. We stopped at the historic Burqeen Church or The Church of the Ten Lepers - the fourth oldest church in the world. The church is where, according to the Bible, Jesus healed ten individuals from leprosy. The ancient church was built on top of the well where this miracle occurred. After learning about the history of the church, we moved on to the Jarrar Palace community center where we served a traditional meal of maftoul and grilled chicken.
Finally, the campers were given a tour of the Canaan factory. The corporation specializes in Palestinian traditional ingredients, exporting freekeh, maftoul, almonds, and olive oil all around the world. We were able to see the cold press where olives are crushed and their oil is extracted as well as the specialized machinery used to husk and peel the native almonds. Their storage facility houses over 1000 tons of olive oil. We also were able to sample their ingredients, and buy some of the best products in all of the region. After a long day, we made our way home.