Annual Earthstewards Gathering 2005

Harry Troelstra from the Netherlands, one of the key organizers for the PeaceTrees/Gathering in Bethlehem has been keeping a diary since his arrival in Bethlehem. Here are those entries on a daily basis.

Thank you, Harry, for bringing this event home to so many of us who dearly wish we could be there physically, but for many reasons are not able to attend. You know our hearts and prayers are with you all.

July 29th, 2005

Dear Friend,

This was the last day of our project. We had our farewell party. The work is done.

This morning we planted the last trees on the middle strip of the road with lots of help of the people working there. Again it was hard work, especially because everybody was tired. And although there are plants left over, we feel we have done well. These leftovers will be used to replace ones that die.

The afternoon was a slow one. I made CD-roms for the internationals to take home. On the CD are the videos and photographs we watched during the last weeks. And I did the last gathering fee things.

So everything was done and the party could start. And then there was a message from Menno about heavy military activity. He was in a taxi with several others and they were having trouble reaching the school. They arrived not even that much later: safe.

We then realised that two young Israeli women were not at the school. They had left in the afternoon to visit Bethlehem with one of the internationals. And the international was here! They had split up and the young ladies were attending a wedding in the most conservative part of town. Not a very clever thing to do. So with Ibrahim I went on a search and rescue action. Happily enough we found them.

Then the party, it was great. Especially the youngsters had prepared themselves and enjoyed it. Their parents were looking at them proudly. After all 'outsiders' had left the internationals sat on the stairs of the school and had a beer. Well deserved after all our hard work.

Much later it was time to go to bed.

Dear Friend, I do not know if I will have an opportunity to write you once more telling you about my Saturday in Israel. It could be that it has to wait until I am back home in the Netherlands. I will visit you soon after I get home. There is so much more I like to tell you about this great adventure.

So, for now it is goodbye. Thank you again for listening to my stories.


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