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 30th, 2005

My wish for this day was to have time to adjust from the harsh surroundings of El Khader to life back home. So I got on the minibus provided by Ibrahim Abu Al-Hawa and travelled with a group of internationals to Tel Aviv. I ended up in a hotel with a view on the sea.

A greater contrast between where I was and where I am now isn't possible. The coastline here is filled with huge hotel towers (Hilton and Sheraton) and seems to be a real US holiday resort.

So I had a swim in the sea - the water temperature must be over 20 degrees - and sat on the beach. Also here the sun is still too hot. But most of my time here I slept. Even when I went out for dinner I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.

And I miss the quiet and in many ways peaceful environment of the Hope Flowers School. Everything there is so simple, straightforward. I feel more at home there, I seem to understand life over there better then life here. It reminds me of other moments in the past I felt happy, for instance the time I spent in the East of the Czech Republic. Interesting to know, it reassures me that I am ready to leave the Netherlands and go and live somewhere else.

July 31st, 2005

A morning spent with packing and a short meeting with Anne. Good to see her again, but now in Israel. Other stories surface here, stories that are more typical Israeli. I will think about this, how both parties create their own images of how bad the other party is. And these stories are so similar.

And then the airport, where I am sitting right now. The routine of interview and check ups. Not too bad this time, just 1 hour and 45 minutes. I was classified as moderately dangerous (red stickers). I am slightly worried because two bottles of wine were taken from me and are now on their separate way to Amsterdam. But I do not know if I will ever see them again. Bethlehem wine is seen here as very explosive, apparently.

Well, my Dear Friend, just the flight back now and I will be in the Netherlands again. So till soon!!


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