Thursday, March 22, 2012

Relief

Text by Rose A. '12

So I was afraid yesterday (Monday, 3/19) as we were leaving Jerusalem, because it really hadn't hit me yet that we're in Israel and that we're going to the West Bank. I was worried it was never going to hit me and I would get on the plane home still feeling like this whole experience was just a dream. But any worry I had vanished entirely when we crossed the border today. We saw the wall and the checkpoint and it hit me like a truck. The infamous "it" we all wait for. I think it was mostly shocking just because the West Bank has been entirely intangible until now - just this impossibly hazy, mutual figment of our imaginations that we spent so much time talking about.  But there it was.  The Separation Wall.  And on the other side - The West Bank.  Ad-Daffa al-gharbiyya.

Bram was telling us that you can always tell a Palestinian home from an Israeli home because of the black water tanks. They only get water during certain hours of the day so they have all these methods of storing it. We drove into Ramallah, met up with Dr. Adel Yahya (greatest name. ever.) and went over to the Friends school. My host sister's name is Jana and she's the absolute greatest. They're all the coolest kids I've ever met.

Jacob and I were sitting and talking to them about the government and the conflicts and Syria and we just looked at each other in acknowledgement of how truly amazing it was. They're so remarkably open to talk about their situation as well, and totally opinionated in all kinds of ways. Jana took me to this club at Ramallah Friends where students were comparing the South African Apartheid to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. There I was in a room sitting with some of the most intelligent kids, talking about their lives - entirely in English, I might add - only 15 minutes after I had arrived.

 We're simply not staying here long enough.  It's a relief.  A dream come true.