Post by Melissa
15th March – Getting blond in Palestine (because why not?)
The day started off with a delicious breakfast of a shrak falafel sandwich with hummus (what else?), fries and herbs tea. After Shahd, Layla and me finished, we met up with Reem, Marios, Sarah and Renad. We had an appointment at the Ministry of Culture with a female author who already wrote and published several books for children. They were very welcoming and friendly even though we arrived rather late. We talked to her about our upcoming art workshop at Saturday and listened to her opinion and tips. She gave us many ideas and inspirations regarding our project. In the end she gave us one of her books as a present. After we drove back to our apartment it was time for me and Sarah to rush to our next appointment with a hairdresser Shahd recommended us. When we arrived at the hair saloon “roots” in the center of Ramallah, we got to know the owner Mohammad Moutaz. We told him about our plans to become blond and so it began. We spend the rest of the day at the saloon talking laughing and being patient all together. Since Mohammad Moutaz really tried his best at this job, it took more than everyone of us thought. That’s why he gave Sarah an extra appointment at Saturday. This was the first time I felt like I got my hair “styled” by an old friend rather than a stranger, so if you need a hairdresser in Ramallah one time, I definitely recommend going there 😉 also the result was better than expected. Of course it was a very weird and strange feeling seeing myself as a Blondie but still he did a really good job. On our way home it was already dark and Sarah decided to get her and Marios a Shawarma when all of a sudden a weird guy stood in front of the restaurant and started to sing aka scream Arab and English songs. I got scared so we waited a little bit inside of the restaurant. Even the employees laughed and got confused. “He is a crazy man”,”Chalas” they tried to get him to go away but he didn’t stop singing songs and so he started to do some Karate moves and rolled on the floor outside on the street. We took the chance and ran as fast as we could to the market. When we saw him around the corner again, we totally freaked out and ran all the way back screaming and panicking. Out of fear we ran into our favorite juice store to get some help. 3 of the employees walked us home without hesitating. Even though I could have relinquished this frighting experience in the end it was still a funny end of the day.
16th March – Adventures in Wadi Qelt
Today Gerrit and me started the day early because we decided to drive to Jericho to hike in Wadi Qelt and we didn’t regret it at all. The Canyon was breathtaking and we enjoyed every minute there with us and nature only. It’s a wise decision to go there if you need a pause from all your worries or stress and if you want to be amazed by mother nature. We were almost alone in the Canyon and we saw a wild cat, a horde of donkeys and goats, an abandoned Bedouin and even waterfalls there. We took a lot of pictures, but still pictures will never capture what we had the opportunity to witness with our own eyes. I am very thankful for that experience and will definitely never forget about it. When we arrived home Layla and me met with Shahd and Reem at our apartment to talk about details for our project and the procedure of the session. We worked the rest of the day and discussed our results afterwards with Marios and Sarah. Linda and me went shopping afterwards and went to eat something. Then we ended up the shopping day going to a restaurant where we ate fresh baked bread with Za’atar and oil.
17th March – Trip to Bethlehem
Finally we went to Bethlehem. I was very excited about it, for the religious history of the city. When we arrived, the first thing we did was going to a restaurant all together and eat some falafel, hummus and foul. Even though nearly most of my time here in Palestine I ate falafel, I still didn’t get tired of it, it was delicious as always. Afterwards we went to the birth church. It was beautiful but unfortunately full of tourists which was a little disturbing. We had 1 ½ hours to walk around in groups and explore the area and other churches. Layla and me bought some souvenirs while Anne was filming a couple of times. When we walked around all of a sudden plenty of men were praying in the middle of the market street which was a touching moment to me since I am Muslim myself. Then it was already time to drive to the border wall in the middle of Bethlehem where nearby there’s an original Banksy graffiti painting. We got told the history of this wall; Before the wall was build, this exact street was the most important road for economy in Bethlehem and now it’s kind of dead. We also visited the Banksy hotel which had a very creative and unique style. First we walked around and looked at the different paintings in the gallery. Then Linda, Sven and me drank a coffee in the lobby and talked about our impressions. After everybody met in the lobby we went to the Banksy graffiti and the shop next to it. We took a couple of pictures and headed to Sho-Shahla, a village surrounded by Israeli settlements. We talked to its citizens and one man walked us around his village. He had a baby Camel which was following him the whole time. One could see the strong bond between them both. We walked right next to the fence of the settlement when all of a sudden a settler came closer and talked to us in a very aggressive way. Since I didn’t want to give him the attention he wanted I walked away and a couple of minutes later everybody moved away from him. Again it was shocking to see how settlers are treating Palestinians and act superior towards everybody. Nevertheless we walked a little more and took a final picture all together before we went home again.