I just found this – I never posted it at the time… don’t know why.
I am thinking of my companions on that trip which took place Springtime two years ago. Quite a few of the great people I met while travelling on that Let Yourself Trust adventure are back in Palestine – or about to go back – many involved in an Amos Trust Home rebuild. The same kind of experience that took me first to Palestine nearly 5 years ago now.
I would recommend spending time in Palestine to everyone. Because until you have been and seen and spoken to the people yourself, you will not really properly understand . And we need to do more than understand. We need to demand justice and stand in solidarity, and work and work and work together for Palestine’s liberty and freedom.
It’s been a difficult, at times heart breaking, at times very scary and change filled couple of years since then.
But – this morning (while lying on my couch as we know I love to do) finding this never published post written in Luton Airport, is a call to my heart.
I love to kid myself that I’m up for a challenge or two, but truth is I’m a big scaredy cat 🙀. Acknowledging that – I hear that voice again.
It’s time and I need to be getting back on the horse.
Winding the clock back now….2018….2017…here we go…
It’s freezing. It’s May, it’s early and I give you that it’s Luton – but the chill in the air is both unseasonal and unpleasant. A quick check on the weather app later, I mind the chill less – even with time in Palestine being two hours behind ours it’s currently 22 degrees and climbing.
I’m going back.
The airport is humming and I settle in to wait for the call to the gate. This time there will not be the shock and accompanying distress of the totally uninformed to contend with emotionally on a nightly basis. This time is about consolodation of relationships, of building strong and sustainable links and bridges between Aida Camp and Aberdour into the future so that our young people can learn and hopefully choose – as if it were in their DNA – friendship, and respect for their brothers and sisters here in Palestine. Reaching out through our beautiful bubble of privilege I hope I can agree the shape of opportunities to come to enable my community to use what has now already been built and become lifelong/generational allies and family to our new friends living in Aida – a refugee camp built as a temporary measure for the displaced decades ago. Those families still hold their front door keys with hope. The hoped for return to their own village is all. Home is all.
I play ‘spot my possible travelling companions’ from my seat in the restaurant from where I am guzzling a big veggie breakfast. If my memory serves me right it is likely I’ll be living on tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus, pitta bread and yoghurty stuff for the next ten days. Great for my once again developing Mrs Pepperpotting figure – not so great for my inner greedy pig.
From my view point I can’t suss anyone out. I’m expecting a bunch of fairly middle aged christians with crazy activist backgrounds and subversive twinkles in their eyes, as it was before and get a bit of pleasant and welcome surprise once we are all boarded.
The 34 seats dedicated to the letyourselftrust and Amos Palestinian trip are filled with a broad range of people of all ages, styles and shapes. Only one dog collar so far… Nice.
Surepticiously I have a glance around. I see Martin, Justine and Nive…known faces and our leaders for this trip – and with a rising positivity I’m hoping that there may be some wino’s here this time too. My last trip I mostly performed a sad, lonely sit with my sad, lonely bottle of red wine at the Holy Family Hotel Bar in Bethlehem, for a number of reasons – the most profound being that mostly the group on the home rebuild were either not carousers by nature or too exhausted by lugging concrete slaps daily to be able to.
This may not be the case this time. I know we are all here to do an inquisitive, profound and meaningful thing – but I’m just not able to bring my best self to the table without a party.
the flight passes pleasantly enough – I chat with Adrian and David in my row. Adrian is tres cool, blonde and bearded, tall and long, pretty much seems like he can do everything (builder, musician, generally a dude) and I like him quite naturally. David is witty and polite – I suspect his stick of rock-like inside writing would say – were he broken in two – ‘Christian and proud’. I can’t figure out his age – he looks about 19 but talks about 37. I like him quite naturally too. Things are feeling fine.
5 hours later we are there. The heat hits my face as soon as we leave the plane. Back in Palestine. This time I am here to see and reconnect with friends and a whole bunch of young people I love who I last saw on the platform of Waverley Station in Edinburgh as I waved them off to the Greenbelt Festival tearfully (and truth be told a little possessively).
The first few days I will be visiting Aida Camp and talking with Abed, Ribal and Manal about the next steps for the Aberdour/Alrowwad relationship. I will also be visiting Wi’am Peace and Reconciliation Centre to give them the Same Sky Project resources pack. I think back over the past two years. We have certainly managed to pack a lot in between my last visit and now.
Later on the group join me at Alrowwad and are the recipients of Abed’s wise words and a typically energetic and powerful Dabka experience gifted to us by the young men and women with the teens and the tinies.
Tonight there will be a concert featuring the talent of Aida’s musicians and dancers together with Martyn and co, on that stage right by that bloody wall
In between now and then I’ll be seeing the new education centre building, hearing more about the work and challenges and drinking lots of mint tea.
I’m drenched in hello’s and hugs from the young people who spent Summer with us us in our village last year – when they took Edinburgh Fringe by storm.
Photos of reunited us fill my iPhone.
Couldn’t feel more in the right place…
For more details of the work of Alrowwad, The Amos Trust and Martin Joseph’s LetYourselfTrust please click here: