Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A very happy and peaceful Christmas

On the last day at school before the Christmas holidays there are many Nativity Plays and parties and much relief that the end of year exams are over. There were, today, many youngsters with happy and excited faces looking forward to a holiday and some time to spend with their families.

From ACIC we wish all the children here in the Holy Land and all those who support them a peaceful and very happy Christmas.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas in Bethlehem

Having watched more slushy, sentimental ‘Christmassy’ tripe on the television, on posters, emails and on Facebook, my heart sinks as I sit here in Bethlehem as witness to just how little has changed over the past two thousand years. I am so sad that still, even after the message of Christ, born in this place, that as a world, so much greed, the scramble for money and power thrive at the expense of others. This is not the message of Christ! I am so proud of the children with whom I work, their smiles and determination in the face of all that is happening. They will not be sitting around a tree on Christmas day receiving the new up to date, in vogue, present – they will however be expecting nothing other than to live a ‘normal’ life in peace.

For those who sacrifice and support the children who really just need the basic right to a free life without fear - Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am lucky to see the difference it makes. For those without this privilege, who are far away from here, thinking of others – it is you who follow the message of Christ.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Special Nativity Play

Today, a visit to the Al Shurooq School for visually impaired children in Beit Jala. I was invited to watch and listen to a nativity play rehearsal by Ghayda, one of the teachers. It was absolutely fantastic to hear the children speak so clearly in English and to watch a wonderfully choreographed play. The children and their teacher had put so much work into this and the result was very, very good. I am so happy to be able to be part of this school which looks after its pupils with such care.

Monday, 15 December 2014

A visit by Santa

A visit by Santa today at the children’s cancer ward at Beit Jala Hospital. Such a beautiful and relaxed place looking after young people. We are told that there are many cases of leukaemia from both the Hebron and Bethlehem areas but an extremely high recovery rate.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Dogged Determination

Three fantastic visits today. Hope School to see the boarders and to hear about how exams are going. All seem quite positive about their pending results. On Thursday next week, we will be cooking a meal for the children before they leave for their Christmas holidays. Then to the SOS Village in Bethlehem for Mahmoud’s birthday party. A lovely get together for some of the children from the village and also for one ‘old girl’ who came along with her husband and new baby. Finally to the Rehabilitation Hospital to see the youngsters from Gaza.  An emotional moment when Salameh told me that he can now lift his right leg a few inches. His dogged determination and the dedication of the medical staff is so fantastic.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A day by the sea

Last week we were visiting the children at the Arab Society Rehabilitation Hospital in Beit Jala. The children, so severely injured during the conflict in Gaza, were fascinated by pictures of the Dead Sea on my computer. So, today, we took them to see the real thing, the Dead Sea, Jericho and the cable car to the Mount of Temptation. I don’t think that there was a moment today when the children weren’t smiling or laughing. Being lifted out of his wheelchair on the shoreline and being gently dipped into the water by his uncle, Ayman beamed with happiness. Just  being with his father in such a beautiful place, Salameh looked so happy and contented. After Shawermeh and Falafels in Jericho we went up the cable car to the Mount of Temptation. Singing, laughing and mock fear when the cable car shook ended a great day. Free from hospital for one day! So many thanks to all, the medical staff at the hospital, Myrna, the social worker, Mahmoud, a nurse and advisor to ACIC and Bashar from Bethlehem who joined us to help so wonderfully.