Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday in Ramallah
Arriving early is a good idea when y0u are new to Ramallah. On a Sunday morning before 9, there is already much to see. My two hours' journey from Tulkarem had been (with 6 other passengers) in Palestine's favourite mode of transport: the yellow minibus 'service'. I had come to attend
Inside the Friends' Meeting House, an hour later, I was welcomed by two others already seated and noticed the cool stone, painted benches, windows open to the sounds of traffic outside - and this splash of colour on the wall.
After meeting, I studied it more closely. The collective work of a group of American Quakers, it is a quilt, donated to Ramallah's meeting house two years ago after the building had been renovated. Kathy Bergen, te Program Coordinator for the Friends International Center there, had plates of Easter biscuits and coffee to offer us all after the meeting. Kathy is the author of an article on the effects of occupation for Palestinians published in an issue of 'Cornerstone' that had helped my learning in November, while I was preparing to come to this country.
On my journey back through the sunlit hills and olive groves to Tulkarem an hour later, the armed soldiers at the three checkpoints on the way there was one reminder of just one of these effects.