South Hebron Hills
Our purpose: Activities in the Hashem al Darraj kindergarten, together with Huda
On the way to Hashem al Darraj – We were happy to see that the final section of the road, which had been a dirt track, was now paved with asphalt. Now the entire road to the village is paved and the ride goes more quickly. We wonder who paved it. We forgot to ask.
Next to the kindergarten – a donkey with containers of water. Area residents obtain water here (reminding us that none of the villages in the area receive piped water).
The kindergarten children play outside. There are many – perhaps forty or more.
We met Ha’ola, the young assistant, in the courtyard. Huda and Amana, the older assistant, are inside.
The kindergarten is clean and extremely well-organized. It obviously underwent a facelift for the new year. The vegetation outside is also flourishing (given it’s a desert). Huda says there are many children, 45 or even more. She suggests we not conduct activities today because most of the children are new and it would be better for them first to see and get accustomed to us. And, in fact, some of the children come in, inspect us, and the brave ones shake hands. So we accepted the suggestion and sat to talk about the new year. Huda and Ha’ola say they’ve begin planning what to do this year. Huda tells us they’ll talk about cleanliness. We were glad to learn they’re making an effort to add content to the activities. Huda says one of them opens the kindergarten each morning at 07:30 and the second arrives by 08:00. The day begins with morning exercises outside. Then the children are divided between Ha’ola (those younger than 5) and Huda (the older ones). Huda’s thinking about asking the parents of about ten three-year-old children not to send them to kindergarten because they’re too young. We discussed it; perhaps she’ll consider accepting them.
We toured the kindergarten, talked about adding designated play areas. Huda and Ha’ola liked the idea very much and we promised to help introduce them and begin activities in two weeks. We’ll be glad of any help we can get. We’ll also investigate the possibility of transporting the children. The distances are very long, and when the weather worsens the children don’t come, especially the younger ones.
We left feeling satisfied; perhaps we’ve also played some role in the obvious improvement in the way the kindergarten is being run.