June 14th, 2005
So what happened today? I think the best way to report
it would be to start from the end and working my way backwards. Though
this is rather unconventional, I've opted for this as it is slightly
different and I think that the most important events of yesterday took
place at the end of the day.
After dinner, whilst still sitting at the table drinking
coffee or hot chocolate (why not in this temperature!), we engaged in
one of those wonderful conversations in which we solved all major problem
of this world and especially those of the region we are currently in.
Furthermore, on this occasion we seemed to agree unanimously on most
that was being said so the whole thing was peaceful and very satisfying.
And sitting together like this really helped to get to know each other
a bit better including those who had arrived earlier today: Trish, Palden
In the afternoon five of us went over to meet the Mayor
of Al Khader. Ibrahim felt it would be helpful if he met a couple of
us. Our visit also served the purpose of talking to the Mayor about
the opening ceremony of the Peace Trees project on Monday and the project
in general. We were welcomed by the Mayor's secretary and were lucky
that, after about five minutes, the mayor actually arrived and was willing
to talk to us for a while.
For me this was the first opportunity to get a feeling
of the real and significant support for our project and what to expect
from the local government in terms of support. And thankfully, after
a while, the Mayor really became involved and enthusiastic. He envisioned
an ongoing five-year project that would result not only in trees planted
in the farms near the school and in the stretch of land separating two
roads. He also nicely suggested the implementation of an irrigation
system to keep the trees along the road alive. No doubt he is a supporter!
His enthusiasm led him to suggest the realisation of
a public park in the future. Sadly, he said he would need funding and
cheekily suggested if we Internationals could come up with an idea for
funding! It's rather poignant that children in this part of the world
don't really have a haven where they can play and unwind; something
that is taken for granted where we come fromů
In the morning we finally worked our way through the
programme for the two weeks of the project. The next two weeks will
be pretty dense! During most of the time, two parallel programmes will
be running (Peace Trees and something else) and we think that we will
have about 50 people (25 internationals and 25 locals) here most of
the time. And then we are hoping to get the occasional visitors who
will join us. I am so happy and grateful that we will have the help
of a group of miracle workers that consists of cooks, cleaners and those
who can share their tree-planting expertise with us.
So at the end of yesterday I started to realise just
how much work still has to be done before we actually start the project.
The tasks are not complicated as such; it is just the "To Do" list is
endless! Well, I guess I have found my niche as I'm good at making lists
and worrying about them. And what I'm not really taking into account
is that the number of people here is growing day by day. And if each
one of them offers a helping hand, we'll be just fine I suppose.
There is just one more thing I'd like to share with you.
You are probably aware that water is scarce here. The supply system
is something that needs some explanation. The school is located on a
hill anyways but the reservoirs storing rain water during the wintertime,
are located underneath the second building of the school (still under
construction) which is situated further down this hill. The water is
pumped up from the reservoirs to the top of the main building (5 storeys
high) and heated with the aid of solar panels on the roof. A second
pump then creates additional pressure (gravity is responsible for the
rest of it) so there is running water everywhere in the building: a
great system that operates manually. Which means that it starts with
someone turning on the pump to pump water to the top of the building
and after a while turning that pump off (only so much water can be stored
up there!). Then all of us start using water until, you must have guessed
already, all the water is used up. And the water always seems to run
out while I'm having a shower and worse, just after I have soaped myself.
Well, such is life!