fredag 22. oktober 2010

Being an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) in Yanoun the main job is to be present in Yanoun

To-day I will be the only EA in the village - my 4 teammates are away on meetings in Jerusalem and Nablus. There always has to be one EA back in the village - to hold the fort, so to speak. On Saturdays two of us have to be present at all times since Saturday is Shabbat and the settlers are likely to "visit" the village. 

The International House in Yanoun - I live here with my 4 team mates

Yanoun at a distance
The main task as an EA in Yanoun is actually being present in Yanoun, hence giving the village protection through presence. Particularly sensitive times are during ploughing and the olive harvest. Every day we are doing our morning walks and evening walks through the village - knowing that the settlers on the illegal outposts surrounding the village are seeing us.

Illegal settler outpost on the hill behind Yanoun

Another illegal settler outpost on the eastern hill of Yanoun

Yesterday, on our evening walk, we walked up to what we call the "boundary stone" just behind Um Hani's house - from where we can walk no further since settlers may come and chase us even though the land belongs to the villagers!! - and watched the outpost on the hill with binoculars. We saw two people sitting outside one of the houses, and they were watching us as well!!

"Boundary stone" - go no further!

Yanouni land cultivated by settlers
Weird feeling -as if we were spying on each other. In a normal world we would have approached each other, greeted and chatted. But this is by far a normal world. "You have to put your logic away" people here keep telling me. That I find so difficult - I would so much have liked to have answers to all my "why's".

Settlers' water tower on a Yanouni hill
Settlers' houses on the hill behind Yanoun
Being present in Yanoun also involves visiting the families here. We have already met with 5 or 6 families - in total there are only 8 families left in upper Yanoun - and they are all so hearty and welcoming. We are always offered tea and coffee and homemade bread - and a nice chat. They express their appreciation of our presence and repeat ever so often that visits from settlers are more seldom now when the EAs are here.

I am so grateful having been given the opportunity to contribute to some people having a better everyday life only through my presence......

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