04 July, 2008

Lazy Friday Afternoon Post

Seriously, not much to report as yet. Well, I shouldn't say that...I've already made several new friends, mostly staffers at school, but a few in and around my neighborhood. Wandered through the souq yesterday with Z, R and F. Z introduced me to the best olive and cheese seller in town, who told me he wouldn't sell me the olives he had that day because he had better ones coming on Saturday.

My friend Z.'s mother cooked up a storm on Wednesday afternoon for me and my co-teacher for next year, N. It was a really lovely afternoon with a great bunch of ladies and Z.'s one-year-old nephew who is the most expressive baby I've ever seen. He and I engaged in a spirited discussion, and occasional disagreement, through a series of gestures, gurgles, clicks and intense stares. He was pretty convinced as to his side of things and an effective debater, until I blew raspberries on his forehead and he lost his concentration amid a series of mad giggles.

Everybody's gone for the weekend and I am home alone, which is actually nice this week. The city shuts down on Fridays and it is intensely and enjoyably quiet. I'll go up on the roof in a bit to enjoy the sunset. Speaking of the roof, provided we stay in this house, I'll be putting down roots, so to speak. There's a perfect spot for a garden up there, just one of my many plans for the coming months.

I'm very excited about working with N., also from the U.S. She and I are on the same wavelength about activities, projects and community involvement. I'm really looking forward to the year. For now, we have three more weeks of summer camp. My class was dissolved because too few students remained (some left for vacation) and the students were sent to the other classes. I'll be team teaching the rest of the time with N.

Other than that, I'm just trying to get sorted and settled.

01 July, 2008

A New Start in Neopolis

Arrived today with absolutely no problems.Crossed the line, past the big read sign stating that it's illegal for citizens of Israel to enter the city and two Israeli soldiers sitting in the shade, looking a bit puzzled about the woman with all the baggage being handed off from Samaritan to taxi driver. I am just trying to process at the moment: the beauty of the landscape, the spartan settlements clinging to the hilltops, my to-do list for tomorrow, the fact that I will start teaching at 9 tomorrow, the overwhelming sounds of the muezzins echoing off the valley walls tonight, speaking Arabic again, more barbed wire than I've seen in my life, the smell of Jasmin, the delicious dinner my new roommates made for me, my new roommates...Time for a quick shower - water is precious and undependable here for many reasons - and a good night's sleep. Amusingly, at least to me, while most people in Turkey thought I looked Turkish several people here have already told me they assumed I am Palestinian by the looks of me. At least one asked if I was from here or elsewhere in the area

Leyla Sayeeda.

30 June, 2008

God bless you, Bill Ford

I happened across this obituary today and am truly saddened by the news of Mr. Ford's passing. I grew up in Miami during the bloody Central American wars. I may have been young, but I absolutely remember the murder of Mr. Ford's sister, Ita, a Maryknoll sister, and her fellow Maryknoll sister Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and Catholic lay worker Jean Donovan. The terrors of the death squads - some aided and financed by the U.S. - were, in many ways, local news in Miami. Growing up in a family for who watching 60 Minutes was our Sunday tradition, I was well aware early on that bad things happen. However, for a child, or for anyone I suspect, the torture, rape and murder of nuns is something altogether horribly different. I am still convinced that the murders of these women and the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter at Central American University helped change my world view and played a role in making me the person I am today. I don't talk about either case much, but every now and then I think about them. Mr. Ford's determination in bringing some of those involved to justice for his sisters murder and his success should be an example to us all about not throwing up our hands in defeat in the face of overwhelming odds, that one person can make a difference. God bless, Bill.