Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Texans in the West Bank #3

We started the morning about 9:00 a.m. with a devotional before going out to some nearby villages. Our first stop was to deliver books to a school in a small village of about 600 people. The school has 120 elementary students in grades K-6.

Upon arrival at the school, the children were on a recess break and we were greeted by both the students and school staff. We were received with many smiles by the school staff and children. The children wanted us to shake their hands as we walked into their school grounds.

Numerous photos were requested, as the children wanted their pictures taken so that they could see themselves on the digital camera lcds. Here at the school we delivered 60 well-received books to their modest library. Also delivered to school staff were hunger relief supplies.

From the school we walked down the road to a home that was visited by the PAL Team last year. The home is located just across a narrow street from the mosque. Last year the team painted the inside of the home and delivered items to the family.

This year as we walked onto their property, we were greeted by three women and four children. We were shown yesterday's new arrivals to their small goat farm, two baby goats. The area where the goats live is attached directly to their house and just outside of the kitchen.

The women invited us into their home for tea. We visited for a time, talked about their families' and gave the children some stuffed animals. We also provided some hunger relief supplies.

The older woman of the home showed us some impressive needlework she has done. She showed us two dresses that were decorated with needlework. She also showed us some of her smaller items, including pillowcases and purses. A number of her wares were purchased by the PAL Team.

From this house, we drove away from the Village back towards our apartment. We stopped along the way at hillside location with a view of the Village just visited. Here upon this dry and dusty hill we prayed for the small Village, the children and their families. During our prayer, we could hear the call-to-prayer sounds coming from the mosque.

We proceeded next to one more home. We drove to another Village who was an acquaintance of one of the PAL Team members. Here we were greeted by a younger man then two women, one much older than the other.

Here at this location we were shown the closeness of the family unit. There were five homes or so near each other. All of residents of these homes were related and it appeared to be a tight-knit family unit. There was much excitement by the family members as a brother was to be married tomorrow. His wife-to-be was from another village about 45 km away.

We were served juice to drink by the young man we were visiting. This was the first time we had a man serve us while the women were present. The two women were sitting and talking with our group as the young man served us the drinks.

We visited with the two women and young man for a time. The one to be most engaged in the conversation was the woman who was perhaps 35 or so. We provided hunger relief supplies to the five related families. We then joined for a prayer of blessing on tomorrows wedding, for much-needed rain and for the families.

The homes visited today are stretched financially since the only work available for the men of these families is through day labor. Here it is a disgrace for a man not to work, however it is extremely challenging, if not impossible for many to sustain their families.

Onward we went to our apartment for lunch and a break. From here, six of us drove to the Dead Sea. We had the opportunity to stop and take some pictures of some hillside caves.

Upon arrival at the Dead Sea, we observed many uniformed teenage girls engaged in prayer. They appeared to be Hasidic Jews given their style of reading and prayer. Walking down the path to the shoreline, there were people coming up from the water whose skin looked like it was covered with tar. Some people cover their bodies with the black mud found at the bottom of the Dead Sea as a rejuvenating skin treatment.

We were able to gather some stones from the shoreline and test the waters with our toes. Sunset came shortly after arrival at the shore, as the sun sets about 5:00 p.m. We could see the lights of Jordan across the Sea on our way back to the apartment.

We arrived back at the apartment about 7:00 p.m. for a time of supper and fellowship.


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