PALESTINE: J-TERM TRIP January 15-24, 2015

TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2015

I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. So this blog is dedicated to the National College Football Champions, the Ohio State Bucks!!! Couldn’t be happier 🏈🏈🏈

We’re staying on the 6th floor of the Mar Elias School, it’s a dedicated guest house. Good news is that they have an excellent cook who speaks very little English but can whip up a meal that makes us all fat, dumb & happy! Bad news is we have no heat in our room nor hot water. The wind is whipping at a good 20-25 knots and it makes for some miserable conditions. Max is working on getting us some heat and that’s a good thing as the crud has hit our group. Leah has been really sick, Libby got it first but is finally getting better.  Sari is fighting it off and we’re waiting for the next victim to start with the all to familiar symptoms of a sore throat, runny nose and headache. We’ll take your prayers please.

We met with Elias Chocour this morning and then toured the church built in his honor (it’s stunning). We spent a class period with a 10th grade English class who proved to be quite lovely and lively. They had definite views about the conflict and interesting questions for us about America. I’ll post more about them under CONNECTIONS.

Enjoy the photos from our day so far:

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Wall photo

Wall Art in Palestine Photo credit Dr. Jeremy Rinker

Palestine. There’s so much I wish to say and I honestly don’t know how or where to begin. Blogging means “a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.” (thank you dictionary.com) My goal is to share my experiences of my January Term Trip to Palestine on this site, but prior to traveling I’ve researched the land and the history. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Diya Abdul, professor of English at Guilford College as well as many students who are from the land of Palestine and carry with them stories I cannot forget. 

What I’ve found most interesting is that when I went to social media sites like Pinterest and Google to capture images of the land, people, art and food, what I found – in massive proportions – were only photos of human suffering and appeals to the world for intervention into their plight of human rights violations. I saw pictures of walls, dead babies, soldiers searching small children, homemade signs begging for justice, dirty streets filled with the rubble of torn buildings and homes, mothers crying, tanks, rocks, and resistance. Resistance to a life that looks miserable.

It takes an extraordinary amount of inner strength to remain open-minded enough to be influenced only by what you directly experience. I’ve wanted that to be my largest source of inspiration, but I’m wise enough to know that is not realistic. History has come dangerously close to repeating itself and by not learning from the mistakes of our past, we are doomed to repeat them. Oh, how I pray Palestine does not continue to fall into that category. From what I’ve seen, it’s looking much like the oppression seen so many times in so many places and I must believe there’s an answer to be found.

Please join me on this journey. We arrive in Ramallah, Palestine on January 15th and we’ll spend the next week-ish there meeting some influential folks, visiting and volunteering at the Friends Boys & Girls School, and learning about the story of the People of Palestine.

My blogs will come in several forms. I will write about the land of Palestine under the photo titled, “Palestine”. It will be the same when I am in Israel. On the front page of the blog when you see the photo of the section from which you would like to read, simply click on it and you will be directed to the most recent entry from my travels.  When I meet people whose story is exceptionally moving or when the circumstances allow for me to video them, I will share that with footage or photos and words when possible. This section is titled “Storytelling” and I’m especially excited about it.

Regardless of how you choose to follow along, thank you for investing in this journey with me. Blessings!

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