Life in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank is hard for many people. I am learning that they cannot move around the places where they live very easily. Israeli soldiers and police at checkpoints decide who can go where and when. This is a picture of the place where people of all ages line up to go through the checkpoint gate.
Sometimes, kids and teenagers cannot get to school. People here have to have papers that prove who they are and sometimes that means, they are not allowed to pass the checkpoints. Sometimes, families cannot visit doctors and nurses very easily.
And, yet, families are welcoming my new Ecumenical Accompanier friends and me so warmly into their homes. Two days ago, I began to learn some Arabic from a five year-old girl whose name is Tasnim. Her name means (in Arabic): “Fountain in paradise”. Tasnim is Bedouin. While she lives in a village now, her family has been nomadic for many generations.
Tasnim taught me how to say, “My name is…”. I learned to say, “Ismi Sherry Ann”. Tasnim drew in my hardcopy notebook with its colourful pages. She liked writing her name. She asked me how to write my name in English. She copied my letters in the book. I asked how to say, “beautiful”, to describe Tasnim’s beautiful Arabic writing. The word, beautiful, sounds to me like [jamile].
When we met with some other members of her family and their teenage friends, I introduced myself and the girls laughed and laughed! I asked what was making them smile and they explained that my name sounds like the Arabic word for artery: شِريان “Artery” describes a blood vessel that runs from the heart to other parts of the body. 🙂 I think this is fun, too! Arteries are very important in our bodies because they carry blood that has oxygen in it. Every cell in our body needs oxygen. I wonder how my time in Jerusalem learning about people here and how they are trying to create peace is like an artery. Perhaps, I’ll be like an artery carrying stories that are like oxygen back home to Canada. If Canadians know these stories, perhaps they’ll help to create peace, too. That would be jamile (beautiful)!
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