First field trip on the schedule

As Ally said in her last entry we have been struggling to get in touch with people on the ground for the last weeks. Coming to country with only a handful of personal contacts and a culture so different from the one at home proved to be quite a challenge, but also a learning experience for us. However, the last few days make us feel more optimistic about the upcoming second half of our fellowship.

On Monday we met with a German hydrologist, recommended by one of my professors, who has been living in Ramallah since 1997 and is well connected in the field. Finding his office was a task of his own and what Janine said about Yangon is certainly also true for the West Bank. People give you the name of a street and you think, I will just type that into Google Maps. Well, think again, Google Maps has almost no street names in Ramallah and finding an address by yourself is nearly impossible.

Ramallah Map

After he gave us a detailed description and drew a map for us we managed to find him and he was happy to help. He established connections for us to the people of the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign (, who we will visit on Monday in the small community of Fasayel, north of Jericho. In this particular area, water should be available in abundance, yet it is one of the regions suffering the most from limited supply. According to a survey of Save the Children UK, only 37% of the inhabitants have regular access to water resources 
It will be our first proper visit to the field and Ally and I are very excited, but also anxious about meeting people directly affected by water restrictions and shortages.

As Ally announced yesterday, in addition to the contacts established, we chose to have a change of strategy, away from e-mailing dozens of organisations that do not answer, towards a more direct approach of simply walking into their offices. We tried that strategy yesterday in Ramallah. and were not very successful. Of the two organisations we tried to meet, one said they cannot help us and at the other one nobody was there. Luckily, when we were about to leave Ramallah disappointed, Palestine showed itself to us from its best side again, in the form of its people. Ally and I decided to walk to the checkpoint, because we were more or less in between Qalandiya and the bus station and all busses that passed by were too full to take us. After walking for a while we heard constant honking behind us and saw a man in his lorry waving at us. His name was Hatem and he insisted to take us to the checkpoint. Although he hardly spoke any English and a conversation with our rudimentary Arabic was not really possible, we learned some things about him, exchanged phone numbers and saw again how kind and warm hearted the people of this country are.

Arafat Graffito 2014


Arafat Graffito 2011

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