Qira

Observers: 
Michal R. (photographing), Pri’el H., Gila W. (reporting). Translator: Charles K.
Jun-9-2015
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Afternoon

A meeting with women, young girls and children

 

Another successful meeting – more than twenty women have arrived, and it’s obvious they come happily and expectantly.

 

Since school vacation started – it lasts three months on the West Bank! – the gatherings are especially bustling.  Thanks to the special crayons and Michal’s ideas the children are busy and enjoying themselves, though by the end of the two hours they become somewhat restless and turn on each other, and on their mothers, as children would.  But there seems to be no parent organizations here to demand a shorter summer vacation…

 

I noticed during the exercises that the women yearn for a little peace and quiet and to be away from the children – recently they actually have been closing the door of the small room and try to keep the children out…  So today I bought an old-fashioned portable cassette player and we played calming Indian music, to mute the background noises.  I think they enjoyed it…  Sometimes it’s hard to know, I ask whether they have any comments or questions, and they always say “everything’s fine”… And I don’t always know whether they’re just being polite and welcoming or if they really mean it…

 

Pri’el joined us today for the first time.  She speaks Arabic, from home, and not just fragments of words and sentences like myself.  She and the women had lovely, personal conversations.  They’re open and frank.  I’m amazed at how trusting they are of us, even though we’ve known each other only for a short time.  But we don’t talk about politics, for now…

 

Since summer vacation begun some of the older girls have joined us, high school students.  It’s interesting to hear them talk about themselves and their plans.  S., K.’s daughter, is 16 and wants to be a doctor.  Her father is supportive and wants her to study outside the West Bank, and doesn’t want her to wear a head scarf.  It turns out that even at this age some of the girls begin wearing head scarves – it’s usually a family decision.  S. dresses in jeans and is bareheaded, smiling broadly.  I hope she continues like that, and wonder whether it will be possible in the future…

 

Next week is our final meeting before Ramadan and we’re trying to think of a more festive activity.  It’s not yet clear whether and how we’ll meet during Ramadan itself.  We’ll talk about it with the women next time.