South Hebron Hills, Thu 11.4.13, Morning

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Mira and Muhamed


Purpose of the shift: Participation in a workshop that the organization “Music without Borders” organizes for women (kindergarten teachers?) in Southern Hebron Hills.


The workshop is organized by Fabienne, from East Jerusalem, who works in “Music without Borders”, Usually they give workshops in refugee camps – Area A – but this time, it is different. Fabienne speaks Arabic and English. A girl introduced herself as a musician, apparently from England; and another girl in tight jeans and a headscarf, as a translator.

About 20 women living in the South Hebron Hills, attend the workshop from the following villages:

Um el Hir, Hashem el Deraj, Derat, Baiwab, Zief, Nejada, Kalet el Mia, Karmel, Sussiya, Um Lasefa.

This is the third day in a 5-day workshop. The fact that they succeed in organizing and concentrating so many women from diverse backgrounds (Bedui and Falachi) is very impressive. When we entered, several women covered their faces – and then Mohamed decided to leave. When only women were left, some removed an outer garment and revealed themselves as elegant women, wearing tight pants, a sweater and a matching headscarf. Some of them wore light make up.

Of course Huda and Amana attended as well and also 3 preschool teachers from Um el Hir, who had been in Souha’s workshop. When I come in, they’re singing a song and in the center of the group one of them acts ‘old’ and tries on a scarf, which she then passes on to the next ‘old one’.  Dalal from Um el Hir hands me the scarf and I have to play the ‘old one’. Later Fabienne engages the group in songs (it turned out, she had composed them), drumming with sticks, various body movements and distinguishing types of song and drumming – soft and strong. The women joined in easily and cheerfully. After an interval for juices and cookies (all too sweet for my taste) they continue. Fabienne’s aide has them singing a simple Icelandic song that sounds like mere syllables to us, but since both melody and syllables are simple, they’re easy to learn. This is a good exercise for teaching attention to styles of singing.

During the interval, several women asked me to arrange a paying job for them as a preschool teacher in their village. Rather embarrassing since I hadn’t come to represent an organization that helps like this.

On the way back, the women wanted to know where I come from and most of them didn’t believe I’m from Israel. I traveled with them in an overcrowded minibus until we reached Um el Hir where Mohamed was waiting for me. For some reason, they were also interested in my age – but I’m not going to write it here.


Pictures of the activity (Mira – Gan Huda art activity April 4th, 2013