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Feb 28, 2008

دروس في الضيافة

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Every so often these diary entries become a sort of outlet for random thoughts and sporadic events with no main subject to make it all neat and reader-friendly. This will be one of those entries.

Palestine is treating me well. Teaching is becoming more natural and I have finally figured out the level of English that some of my students can handle (playing "Hangman" at the end of class to recap vocabulary is also popular and fun). I now have some sense of routine and there are always new invitations for meals and family visits from the ever-hospitatble Palestinians.

Recently I went for a picnic lunch in the countryside with the family of a volunteer`s former student, celebrated the birthday of one of my office coordinators among 20 rambunctious children in his village home (see video), and was invited for a lasagne dinner and to stay the night with one of our local volunteer`s family. Last weekend I hiked up the mountianside to explore some caves with a fellow volunteer and we were beckoned to join a family`s hillside picnic. These really are some of the most generous and kind people I`ve met.

I have the chance to play hostess myself this weekend when the Canadian couple who I met at the border coming into Israel from Jordan (they live in Jerusalem) will drive up to Nablus for a visit. We have plans to tour the Balata refugee camp (the largest in the West Bank), eat kunafe, possibly tour the soap factory and visit the Samaritan settlement. These might just be Nablus`s first tourists!

Next weekend is the Jewish holiday of Purim (something like Hallowe`en in North America), the Christian holiday Easter, and also the birthday of the prophet Mohammed (Mawlid al-Nabi) -- a good time for peace talks I would think!

A recent development in my on-going journey to far-off places is my mom`s offer to meet me somewhere overseas. We have decided on Athens, Greece as our rendez-vous point in mid-May for 4 weeks of island hopping and good hugs. Lots to see before then though -- I have one more month here at Project Hope before I continue back to Jordan and south to Egypt!

P.S. The title says "Hospitality Lessons"

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