It’s mid term orientation for EA’s this week, meaning that all EA’s have gathered together for 5 days of meetings on a variety of topics. Yesterday included a session on advocacy and a presentation by the Israeli group “Peace Now.”. Later in the week we will travel into Israel to meet with various Israelis representing a variety of perspectives. Today we visited our various consulate offices. For me, that meant a one hour trip from Jerusalem to Ramallah to Canada’s consulate office for a meeting with Mr Chris Greenshields, Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority. I found my way there fairly easily, and have to admit a smile crossed my face as I looked up and found the Canadian flag flying outside the building. International travel is a great way to help us reflect upon the blessings we have as Canadians, to reflect upon rights and opportunities that are ours that should never be taken for granted. Our meeting proved to be interesting, an avenue to build greater understanding.
I left the meeting and headed out onto the streets of Ramallah, a Palestinian city that manages to live life in spite of the occupation. The walk from the the consulate office to the bus station took me through the central business district. I took time to wander and soak in the scene. Crowds filled the streets. There were a variety of shops selling everything from bulk beans to a leg of goat, pharmacy products, plumbing supplies, hardware items, clothing, every type of shoe you could imagine, along with an assortment of various eating places. Street vendors sold all kinds of fresh produce….carts full of bananas, pomegranates, cauliflower, oranges, grapes, peppers, cucumbers…. an amazing assortment of colour, with many of the vendors calling out their products and sometimes the price. Sitting in chairs along the street or inside some of the shops were men smoking the traditional shisha water pipe, an interesting ornate glass and brass contraption that almost makes smoking look appealing. Wandering up and down the streets amidst the crowd were traditional coffee vendors dressed in bright red outfits, carrying their huge gold coloured coffee pots adorned with with bouquets of flowers on the top.
The city was alive. Bright, cheerful, busy, chaotic and colourful.
Peace, Salaam, Shalom,