Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ramallah: my friends' apartment -- so not what I expected

Friends, so much in Ramallah is so not what I expected. (Read my post of April 29 below.)
One surprise for me was just how gorgeous Fadi and Suha's apartment is. It's in a very lovely new building set among other lovely new buildings. Has plenty of space inside, beautiful new appliances and a wide open balcony patio area where I was treated to a sumptuous breakfast of fresh breads, cheeses, eggs, fruits and sliced veggies even though both Fadi and Suha had to leave for work.
(Fadi works in a peace-building organization in Jerusalem and drives there and back, through the check points, everyday.
Suha does great work of her own in Ramallah-based organizations. Surprising for us who don't live there, Suha is not allowed to cross through the checkpoints and enter Jerusalem at all unless an Israeli organization applies for a permit for her for each and every visit. Even when the Jewish Israeli director of the foundation where Fadi works applied for Suha to be permitted to come to a reception, she was denied.)

Looking off their balcony in the bright morning sun, it surprised me how much their nearly center-city Ramallah neigbourhood closely resembled the nicest residential areas in older west Jerusalem. The white stone-clad buildings and roadways, the terraced earth, the patches of tall wild grass and thistles and occasional olive trees all were so very familiar to me. Take a look at these photos from Fadi and Suha's balcony. If you know Jerusalem, you'll see what I mean. It is a fifteen minute walk to Duar as-Sa'ah, Clock Square in English (even though it is round and has no clock), a small, quietly bustling little commerical area in the center of Ramallah.
It struck me as not only a nice place to visit, but also a nice place to live.
Everyone agrees that Ramallah is a bubble in Palestine. No other place has developed as Ramallah has. Nowhere else in Palestine is like Ramallah. But, I believe Ramallah shows how Palestine could develop when given the chance . . .

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