Nablus and Balata
We kicked off this morning with an empowering reflection session. Campers shared their thoughts on what Palestinian identity means to them and why it is important to connect and reconnect with their cultural roots. After our productive discussion at the school, we loaded onto the bus and made our way north to Ballata refugee camp. Once at the camp, we gathered in the Jaffa Cultural Center and met with our guide. She explained to us the issues facing the camp’s residents, and the hardships that have remained since its inception. After a short documentary and many questions from the campers, we took a walk through the neighborhood. The campers were surprised and alarmed by the state of life in the camp - the narrow passageways, the overcrowdedness, and the need for repairs. We all came out of this with a newfound understanding of privilege and power even within Palestine.
From here, we drove to Sebastia - an ancient roman city, which is now in ruin. We ate lunch here - barbecued chicken, soup with freekeh, mezze, and French fries. Once all of us had had our fill of the delicious food, we moved on to Nablus. In Nablus, we were guided through the old city - making our way along cobblestone streets, we stopped into an old spice and soap store, and an old Turkish bath. We learned about the ancient history of the city as well as the more recent realities. From here, we walked to the market and had a plateful of Nablus’ famous kunafeh. After this delectable experience, we made our way back home.