Or so we thought rounding a sharp corner returning to our guest house after dinner at the Grotto restaurant in Beit Sahour. I was sharing a ride with two of our new Palestinian friends, and as we approached the local police booth late in the evening, it appeared that the two officers on duty had “kicked back” for the evening, taking little notice of our careening SUV.
Our group from Global Exchange has met up with a wonderfully interesting group from Dubai. With members from England and South Africa, the group is run by three Palestinian refugees who were born in Kuwait after their parents were forced out of Palestine during the war of 1948 (called the “nakba” or catastrophe by Palestinians). We have shared conversations and food and wine and e-mail addresses — and many laughs over just two days.
We all needed some relaxation last evening after our busy days. Ron, Jean, and I spent the day with George Rishmawi, one of the directors of the Siraj Center, who accompanied us to meetings with the communications directors of StopTheWall.org and the Palestinian Negotiations Unit at the PLO headquarters in Ramallah. I felt like I was back in school, taking notes and asking questions — a great feeling to be so engaged and to have such generous presenters. We also visited the Presidential compound and saw Yassir Arafat’s tomb.
Of course, it wasn’t all work. After our meetings and a lunch of shawarma, hummus, and salads at a small restaurant in Ramallah, we stopped by the Oktoberfest in Taybeh. Yes, the Oktoberfest. The Taybeh Brewery is owned by a Palestinian Christian family, and they make a wonderful beer. There was music (traditional and hip-hop) and dancing. So much fun!
I know some of you are eager for more photos. Trust me, I am taking a lot, but haven’t had time to download and post yet. Please be patient until the end of the week. We’re heading off for the village of Sebastia for a couple of days and I’m not sure what the internet access will be.