My students 2: Arrabah

Hanaa, the manager of the Women’s Union in Jenin has asked me to teach in her village too. This village is called Arrabah and is located 4 miles outside Jenin. It seemed adventurous to me so I gladly agreed to it.

If Hanaa doesn’t collect me, I take a service taxi to Arrabah. The ride goes through a breathtaking landscape of hills (everybody who has ever visited the Holy Land knows what I’m talking about) and eventually we arrive in Arrabah on top of a hill. Arrabah is special because it has a historic village centre. It remotely resembles the Old City of Jerusalem, but of course without the crowd and the stalls. In the old centre we walk into a courtyard and then into a little building where the classroom, which has a vaulted ceiling, is located.

All the students are female and between 20 and 25 years of age. Most of them are dressed in beautiful long black (over)dresses ornamented with embroidery. Some of them are still studying and others have graduated but are unemployed. Their shyness (partly because I’m a male) had completely disappeared after the first lesson and their English turned out to be rather good. The lessons are attended by a core group of about seven students, but I see new faces every lesson. Sometimes they stay; sometimes I only see them once.

I like going to the group in Arrabah. The students are very motivated and I enjoy their laughter during the lesson.

Hanaa’s husband once took me to a high point in the middle of the village. From there you have a lovely view of the surrounding area. Reason to get my video camera and to take some shots. Hanaa’s husband pointed towards the west and said: “settlement”. I could hardly believe that he was talking about a Jewish settlement, because you don’t expect to see them here. But when I zoomed in at the spot he pointed at I could see he was right.  I could immediately see, from the distinctive monotonous detached houses, that the settlements are moving in the direction of Arrabah. And if you know what the devastating effects of the settlement policy are on the lives of West Bank Palestinians you can only hope that the settlements stay far away from this beautiful village.

Here some photos of the lesson:

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