We awoke today a little hazy, still adjusting to our new surroundings and trying to process all of the information we were given yesterday.
We visited The Women’s Union Centre which was established in 1956 as a nursery for the town’s children, in addition to providing classes for women on topics such as woman’s health, cooking and childcare. The Union set up a Special Education Centre for Children in 1987, providing people with disabilities help in special education, self-help skills, behavioural difficulties and speech therapy. They make recycled paper, beautiful rugs, and greeting cards which are sold to help fund the centre. After a wage is paid, any left over profit is divided equally.
We then walked into a room which resembled a scene in the film ‘American Gangster’ but the ladies were actually cutting parsley. The kitchen prepared herbs, biscuits and various Palestinian specialities to sell, which we had great fun making.
As we were on the coach en route to visit a refugee camp, I watched in awe of the incredible girls that I was on this journey with. There were 16 British women, I was one of the oldest (27) and one of the only ones that didn’t speak another language. They all studied Political Science or International Relations. Some had spent study leave in France, another spent 14 months in Sudan. The Palestinian girls that we were with were all educated as well, most studied Law and they were all very inspiring.
We went on to visit a refugee camp in the West Bank, called Dehesha Camp, home to around 13,000 refugees, who share around 1.5km of land. It wasn’t what I expected at first, there were no tents and many of the streets were paved. The camp is connected to water and electricity but there is still 15% of the are unconnected to a sewage system.
We then returned to our accommodation to spend more time with the Palestinian women to find out more about their lives and their experiences under the Israeli occupation. This was our last day of ‘normality’ before experiencing it for ourselves.
Please join me over the next two weeks when I shall be documenting life in Palestine, under the Israeli Occupation, with daily blog posts and video diaries on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ptparent/).
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