May 18

This was our last morning at the Diyar consortium guesthouse and in Bethlehem. We spent the morning at Tent of Nations, an organization with a farm and summer camp programs run by the Nassar family. We had to walk the last half mile or so, because the Israeli settlements that are being built around the Nassar family land have created a roadblock to make it more difficult for visitors and volunteers to reach it. Tent of Nations’ motto is “we refuse to be enemies,” and as they are increasingly surrounded by settlements and have the farm buildings placed under demolition orders, their goal is to use nonviolent resistance to continue to live on their land. To support this, we went and worked on their farm for the morning – pulling weeds and moving rocks. Then they served us a delicious lunch and gave us a tour. It’s important for Tent of Nations to have volunteers not only because of the help volunteers provide with farm labor (which, in our case, was minimal), but mainly because Israeli settlers and soldiers seeing that there are more people there makes it harder for them to take the land on the pretext that it is unoccupied.

In the afternoon we packed up and went to our host families for the home stays in time for supper. We’re doing home stays in Beit Sahour, a smaller town next to Bethlehem, so that we can have another short chance to interact with Palestinians on a more personal level rather than being as separated from local people as tourists usually are. Rachel and I had a lovely evening with our host family. We stayed with an older couple named Atallah and Jameela, and met some of their grandchildren who came to visit. They were very hospitable and Atallah cooked as a delicious meal. I’m sorry we can only stay here one night.

– Submitted by Eliana