Our first community service project commenced today at Mazare’ al-Nubani - a small, organic farm not far from Ramallah. We were introduced to Sa’ed, the owner of the farm, and informed about the new practices being utilized. Not only did Sa’ed practice an organic method of farming, but he has created his own approach to the agricultural field: humanistic agroecology. He believes that centering the community in the development of agriculture is vital in sustainability and mutual empowerment. Sa’ed’s farm is 3 dunums overall and encompasses a natural spring, as well as many different trees and crops. The campers helped the workers to level areas for farming, clearing paths for donkeys, and weeding - as well as taking much needed breaks from the heat in the shade with tea made over an open flame by the farmers.
Once our time at the farm had come to an end, we moved on to the small town of Deir Ghassaneh for a filling lunch of Warak Diwali (stuffed grape leaves) and roast chicken. The campers got some down time in Deir Ghassaneh and were able to enjoy the spectacular views from our dining area.
In the evening the campers were able to enjoy traditional Palestinian music and dance at the Palestine International Festival - El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe. The show was alive with sound and life as dabke groups from all over Palestine and neighboring countries came to perform. Some of the members of the camp had never seen a dabke performance before, while others are part of their own troupes. No matter the level of knowledge, everyone was able to connect to their heritage and enjoy the Palestinian tradition. We all left the event energized and connected.