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Sami in Palestine: Learning Arabic from 8yr Olds

I have been going spending a lot of time at the Balata Center for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, doing an art project with the children. Contrary to what the name implies, its not just a center for the disabled, although that is what it was established for. It is also a community and cultural center for the community at large, particularly the children. A few friends and I have been working with a group of kids after school, mostly girls from around 3 yrs old all the way up to teenagers, although most of them were around 8. I taught them how to make wheat paste, and we made paper mache masks and then painted them, and played games. It has been particularly theraputic for me, hanging out with a bunch of young girls, and some cute little boys. I can also say that if you want to learn a language, playing games and painting with little kids is a good way to practice. I must have counted to ten in Arabic around 20 times.
The army has been coming in periodically, shooting teargas onto the roof of the mosque, and shooting rubber bullets at children. I saw them shoot a teargas canister, at the mosque and miss, so that the canister landed on the back balcony of someone's home in the refugee camp where they had hung their clean laundry out to dry. The tear gas billowing up through some family's socks and pajama's was quite a sight to behold. Sometimes they drive at reckless speeds through the narrow alleys of the camp and around the UN school complex. Anyone who has ever worked with schoolchildren can imagine how disruptive it must be to the learning environment to have the jeeps of an occupying army tearing around in the elementary school yard.

That's all for now. Thanks to all who have sent kind words of encouragement and solidarity. Keep loving, keep fighting.

thanks sami 29.Nov.2004 16:59

in solidarity

keep posting your experiences; it helps us all learn and grow.

map of apartheid walls in palestine, current & under construction 30.Nov.2004 01:12


just heinous what's going on over there