Welcome to Palestine where there are no addresses, car horns are used like they are going out of style and people talk about politics as often as Americans talk about sports. In my short time here I have already come across a plethora of new experiences. Within one week I have seen the birth place and burial site of Jesus Christ and touched the rock where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven; I have witnessed countless acts of kindness by local Palestinians doing their best to help me, a foreigner in their city, find my way; and last but certainly not least, I have eaten some of the most amazing food that has thus far graced by pallet. It was only a week ago that I arrived in the city of Ram Allah a bit culture shocked and without luggage, but fortunate for me I was received by last year’s DWRC fellow, Willow, who has been gracious enough to take me under her wing and show me the ropes in this vibrant little city that will be home for the next two months.
The first thing I learned upon touching down here is how much I actually don’t know. The complexity of the conflict and subsequently everything that appears to be inextricably linked to it is beyond any thing I could have imagined. I am constantly surrounded by experts in history and I feel like a grade school student again trying to cram a huge amount of information into my head before the big exam, except that in this case, the exam is everyday life. My goal in coming here this summer was to listen more and have less opinion – a goal that after only a week has already proven to be significantly challenging, especially when political debates quickly can and do manifest out of discussions as seemingly simple as recycling.
There is no question in my mind that the coming weeks will be filled with sobering as well as inspiring experiences. And as I sit and watch the sun set over this humble city while listening to the call for prayer echo over the hilltops, I can hear the faint voices of all the incredible Palestinians I have already met whispering yet again….welcome to Palestine.
Posted By Rangineh Azimzadeh
Posted Jun 22nd, 2009