Journey to the Holy Land – Day 13

November 5, 2010

Today Karmin, the administrative assistant for HCEF, and I went on a tour with a group called Rosanna which is taken from an Arabic word for “light” coming through an architectural structure such as the attic of a house.

This company was formed to take people on interesting hikes around the local villages and to learn about the culture of the areas.  This particular outing was to acquaint us about the Sufi culture which thrived in this area many years ago.  The Sufi was a people who would go off to secluded places to pray, study the Qur’an and commune with God.

This trip included a 1 ½ hour walk over an unpaved trail.  Ordinarily, this would have been an easy trek for me (one way was about 6000 steps—yes, I was wearing my pedometer—don’t leave home without it!) but unfortunately, we had a late start (due to the coffee lovers on the bus who had to have their coffee) and we didn’t begin the hike until 11:30.  Also, unfortunately, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature was about 92 degrees.  Well, I did make it to the shrine but only managed to walk halfway back before we had the tour guide call for a car.  It wasn’t just for me as there was another woman who almost passed out—probably from dehydration—even through we were drinking water.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and community time at the Women’s Center in Dayr Ghassana and then headed back to the bus for the trip home.  Our journey was not an easy one.  As we approached the village of Aboud, we say two Israeli soldiers in the road.  The driver stopped the bus about an eighth of a mile from them as they were gesturing that we could not pass that way.  Raa-ed, our tour director, said that the residents of Aboud are resisting the “wall” that is being built and so we were not allowed to pass that way.  We had to find an alternate route which required the driver to stop many times and ask for directions.  We did not arrive back in Birzeit until 5 p.m.

All in all, it was an interesting if arduous day.  I did learn first-hand about what the Palestinians face on a daily basis because of the checkpoints—even the ones that are supposed to be closed like the Atara checkpoint at Birzeit.  The Israeli military still man this checkpoint at random times, and it is on the heavily traveled road leading from Birzeit to towns in the north such as Nablus.

Published in: on November 6, 2010 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  

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