Post by Robin
At 10 o’clock, according to “German accuracy“, we began our trip to Bil’in, where the film „5 Broken Cameras” was filmed. We drove in two taxis and were dropped off in front of the building of „Friends of Freedom and Justice“. A guy called Kefah was expecting us. He told us about the history of the village and the demonstrations. He also shared with us his experiences he made in prison. He was locked up in a small bright room for more than 15 days and was accused over and over again of having done things he did not commit. He did not confess to the allegations and came back after about three weeks.
We joined demonstrators and followed the road to the wall. We took a lot of pictures and watched the demonstrators knocking with rocks against the gate. The contrast between the beautiful landscape on one side of the wall and the large new settlements on the other side was enormous. Then we met the director of “5 Broken Cameras” and got to ask him questions. Afterwards we drove back to the apartment and some went to sleep early, because the last night we didn’t get much sleep. Later, a few of us met in the living room to further discuss and refine the project ideas.
Today we met at 10 o’clock for breakfast at a restaurant called “filfil” near the university. We had a huge selection of Palestinian food and some of us also had pancakes, which are not comparable to usual pancakes though. During the meal, we continued discussing our projects and then went to the university to work with the other Palestinian students. We discussed our work and everyone could give their feedback. There was an open exchange and we progressed very well. In the end, each group was divided into smaller groups, whereby a main project and a secondary project had to be chosen. Afterwards we drove to the apartment and then met with Saja just before 5 pm because she wanted to show us the old town of Ramallah. She guided us and no guide could have done that better. This tour gave us the opportunity to discover new sides of the city. Then we met in a karaoke bar with Reem, Rand and Shahd. It was a fun but expensive evening. The highlight was the performance of Melissa rapping the song „Gangster’s Paradise“.
The day started at 8:30 am when we met outside the apartment to take a bus to Nablus. Renad had taken care of the organization and so we could start without complications. A bus took us to the headquarters of the Government in Salfeet, where they gave us a lecture on the political situation. They tried to present their opinion in order to approach this sensitive topic. Subsequently, the governor could still be asked questions. They offered a falafel sandwich and juice for breakfast and then we followed a bus with other exchange students from the Birzeit University. We stopped many times and we were told many different things about history and regulations regarding building houses. The highlight of the trip was the meeting with a man who did not want to move when an Israeli settlement building and a fence/wall was built around his house. He reported that he was only allowed to enter or leave the grounds at certain times to get into his own house. He had a very strong personality and he realized that he had to remain faithful to his ideals.
Then we went to the city of Nablus, where a friend of Renad led the group and showed us many beautiful spots in the city. We strolled through the streets and ate the best Knafeh (a dessert made out of white cheese, sugar and durum wheat. During the bus trip, many fell asleep and after our usual conversations in the evening, we went to bed early.