Journey to the Holy Land – Day 7

October 30, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum—oops!–wrong country. It actually happened on my trek back to work yesterday after enjoying a wonderful lunch at Afteem—a traditional Arabic restaurant. The food was excellent and provided enough leftovers for another meal but the best part was the fresh squeezed lemonade with fresh mint served ice cold. I have never tasted anything like it. But I digress—back to “the funny thing.”

There are two gates at the HCEF building that are remote controlled, and I have the key ring control to open and close them. One gate is kept open during business hours and the other one remains closed. When I came back from lunch I found myself in front of the closed gate so I retrieved my keys from the bottom of my purse (where else would they hide!) and opened it enough for me to pass through and then closed it and started to walk to the stairs. I must have heard something that made me turn around and the gate was opening so I thought I had accidentally hit the open button. I again started to close it but it only went just so far and started to open again. So I AGAIN started to close it and the same thing happened. Finally, it dawned on me that there might be someone or a car on the other side that I couldn’t see who was trying to open the gate. I finally stopped pushing the button at the same time that Ramzi figured out what was happening on his side of the gate and pulled up close enough for me to see him. We both got a good laugh out of that. It made me think that it would have been a great Abbott and Costello routine.

The continuing saga…there must be a message in here somewhere. This morning when I put my key in the lock of the main entrance door and turned it, it wouldn’t open. As I’m thinking to myself “This is not a good thing” the door suddenly opens and there stands another one of my co-workers with his key in the lock from the other side of the door who had been trying to open it at precisely the same time as I was. I’m glad I had enough common sense to remove my key or we might STILL be there doing the Abbott and Costello thing! A point to ponder: key…open…locked…enter…exit…let me reflect on that a bit.

I went to the Olive Wood Festival today in Manger Square. There was a large stage where various acts performed. I watched a magician entertain the crowd and the children were so excited to see his “magic.” It brought back memories of when my son used to do magic shows during his teen years. Many of the props used today were the same ones that Brian used. Sometimes the “tried and true” should be recognized for its value.

There were also many vendor booths around the plaza and as I wandered from one to another, a banner that read “Women’s Cooperative” caught my attention. My curiosity led me to inquire about the business. The product that they were selling is Olive Wood Soap and I had to support this endeavor by purchasing some of it. I took one of their pamphlets but didn’t have time to read it until now. What I read made me very excited about a topic close to my heart—women empowerment.

The name of the business is Aseela Women’s Cooperative ( and it was established in the fall of 2004 in Bethlehem by a group of 13 women who came together to address income-generation needs of families in refugee camps and rural villages in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). “Aseela is an innovative entrepreneurial project that aims to empower Palestinian women and to promote unique Palestinian products overseas through a unique combination of grassroots economic initiatives in the OPT and an international network of progressive organizations and consumers.” Aseela’s mission is “economic opportunities for Palestinian women through the production of olive oil skincare products and fair trade.”

Because of my education and background in leadership and particularly women’s leadership, one of the areas that the HCEF asked me to work on while I am here is women empowerment issues. One of the ideas being discussed around this topic is producing a radio program that would enlighten people to the kind of projects that are already prospering in the community and to encourage more projects to be started. I will definitely be discussing this with my co-workers here next week and I plan to visit the Cooperative in the next few days.

I was also delighted to see the words fair trade associated with this business. There is a wonderful fair trade store in New London that sells products from all over the world, and I will definitely be speaking to them when I return to the States about carrying this company’s line of products.

Rest well, my friends.

Published in: on October 31, 2010 at 3:05 pm  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. […] Journey to the Holy Land – Day 7 I went to the Olive Wood Festival today in Manger Square. There was a large stage where various acts performed. I watched a magician entertain the crowd and the children were so excited to see his “magic.” It brought back memories of . […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: