Tuesday, 31 May 2011


It's May, and incredibly the hills are still green and the lake is filling up nicely after the good rains we have enjoyed, right to the very end of April. Not sure if all the pilgrim groups have quite appreciated the mist and rain, but certainly those of us resident here very much did.

We have had a lot of interesting people pass through the Hotel and Church, including a number of groups from Scotland. The Guild  group was one such, under the leadership and Clarence and Joan Musgrave. They came to church in Raineh on the Sunday morning, only to coincide with a crowd of people coming the other way, following a casket with relics (including a footbone) of St Theresa of Lisieux. She died as a young woman, but she would walk around helping people, so the Catholics in Raineh were very inspired by the foot bone! The relics moved around the churches from village to village and town to town around the country for almost two months, so it was a big thing.

A couple of days later I joined the group again, as we went to Sederot, a town near Gaza (and which has been frequently on the receiving end of rockets).  The Guild support a project at the Sapir College there which brings together Jewish and Bedouin women in a special social work course. We had visited at the very start of the course last year, but it was exciting to see how positive the students were and to hear their stories about the course and of the various projects they were setting up, including, for example, a park in a village without any green space.

The students were varied in age and background, but apparently they were the talk of the campus, because Bedouin and Jew would be studying together, eating together, chatting together. All barriers down. Well done to the Guild for supporting this course!
Members of the Guild group along with participants in the course sponsored by the Guild at Sapir College, Sderot.
Interestingly a couple of waiters from the Hotel have just about to complete their first year at University. Ayman, a Christian guy, is at the Technion at Haifa, one of the top institutions in the country, while Ahlam, a Moslem girl, is at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Both seem very happy and talk of their friendship with students from all the different faith groups (so Sederot isn’t too unusual) – but then that is what they did at the Hotel!

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