Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day 3: The Lights of Jerusalem

Day 3 was packed with action. Even the morning classroom sessions were fast-paced, as we covered how to set up Safe Spaces for children, Save the Children's Child Safety Policy (e.g., at least 2 adults with children at any time), maintaining staff well-being in the face of extreme stress, and much more.

This afternoon during the simulation, the trainees set up two Safe Spaces on the hotel premises, complete with registration tables and stations for quiet play, reading, etc. Save the Children's "President" and "Angelina Jolie" came for a visit and were interviewed by "CNN." We caused quite a lot of commotion in the hotel - especially earlier when the staff who went up the road to "procure" items for the Safe Spaces were "taken hostage" on the way back. It looked so realistic with people lying flat on the ground while men in kaffiyahs brandished sticks over them that hotel security tried to come to the rescue. You should have seen the looks on their faces and those of the few other guests who were around!

Tonight we had a Team Dinner at the fancy Panorama Restaurant, just 10 minutes further down the wadi (valley) from here. The sorry thing was that it was pitch dark, so you couldn't see the Dead Sea just below, Jericho just to the north, and so on. I showed our Central Asian visitors the lights of Jericho, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem and they were thrilled, yet wanting desperately to see the place in the daylight. So close (about 20 miles to Jerusalem, according to the panorama map we read with a cell phone light), yet so far away. I felt those typical Middle East feelings caused by the crazy human-made boundaries. I was reminded of how we often saw the lights of Amman when we lived in Ramallah, yet could not drive over there, send a letter, or even make a phone call to someone on the other side of the border (think what cell phones and the Internet have done to that!). I think I'll try to arrange for the American with a car here to take some folks down to see the view during our lunch break tomorrow.

We shared the restaurant with one other large group that appeared to have a diverse mix of nationalities like ours. The Arab men in that group did some debke (line) dancing and then a few members of our group went next. It was a crazy mix of Georgian, Arab, American, Bosnian, and French body shaking - for example, a belly dancing approach by the Egyptian man, extreme upper-body bust shaking by the Georgian woman, and the arms and hands gliding through the air by the Palestinian woman. We all had a great time.

Three days down and one to go. This is crunch time. I must head to bed, as I have lots of prep to do tomorrow before we start and need a decent night's sleep. When we're done tomorrow at about 6 p.m., I'll have a breather, as my ride to the airport is not until about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. Maybe I'll even finally get a dip in the hot springs!

- Spee

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