Divided Society by Lucie Guetler (breaking walls 2012 Berlin delegate)

Before I came to Palestine everyone told me: “Do you know where you are going? Are you sure you can manage all the problems you will face?” I told them: “Of course I know where I am going and I really want to stay in this country.” But I didn’t know that the society in Bethlehem was so divided and different. My mother and I arrived in Bethlehem on the 19th October 2012. But on this day we didn’t get any time to visit Bethlehem, so I asked Mohammad, a young Palestinian that took part in the breaking walls program with me, if he could show us the city. And so we spent a beautiful morning in Bethlehem city with him. Afterwards we were invited to his house in Aida Camp where we enjoyed a REALLY tasty Arabic lunch with his family.  After lunch Mohammad took us to the Alrowwad Centre, where I met Murad, another participant of breaking walls program. We spent some really nice hours with them until we had to go to the hotel again. The next day I met my host family, with whom I would stay for the next month. My host family is a Christian Orthodox family — father, mother, daughter (age 5) and son (age 12). The lunch we spent with them was really nice. The next two days were school days but I didn’t really go to school. The whole class and some others had to go picking olives in Jerusalem. It was very nice because through this experience I easily got to know the others. I felt very included into the class.

The next day Mahmoud invited me and my mother
to lunch at his house. We enjoyed an Arabic lunch with him and his family and afterwards we went to watch him playing Football with some friends.
The next week were holidays of Eid. I spent them with my host family and one day we went to Jerusalem but only for 3 hours to go shopping. During this week I nearly never left the house or went to the city because my host mother didn’t want us to. So I played Football with the son and spent some time with the daughter.

On the 2nd November Mahmoud invited me to help him and some people from Alrowwad Centre to pick olives. This day was different than the ones I spent with my class picking olives. It was more fun and I felt more included into the group. We spent half the day working and after that Murad and Mahmoud took me to Alrowwad Centre. There I spent the other half of the day listening to music and talking. For lunch I was invited to Samira’s house. Her little daughter showed me Aida Camp from their roof. Samira and I talked a lot about everything and after lunch Murad took me back to the host family after drinking a Cocktail with him.
The next day was a school day. In the school we all speak German  because it is a half-german school. I am in a German class but I want to change to an Arabic class because my purpose of being here is to learn Arabic. In the host family I also speak German and the only time I speak Arabic is when I am with Mahmoud, Mohammad, Murad and the others from breaking walls. On the 15th November Mohammad invited me to spend the day with him and his family. After a few hours in his house, talking with him and his family we went to Khater, a small city near Bethlehem to visit his grandmother and the rest of his family. At night we went walking with one of his friends in the New Street.

The day after that the “war” began. It was terrible. We heard some bombs and rockets but here in Bethlehem they only shot gas. I was really scared and the host family prohibited me to go outside. But I didn’t listen to them – on the 19th October Mohammad picked me up to walk a little bit. We walked some time and then he took me to his house. Even though we could see the gas from the roof I felt safe. The 23rd and 25th November I also spent with Mohammad walking through Bethlehem city, talking and having a good time. Next week I have to change the host family, but i still don’t know where I am going to live. My first month in Palestine passed so fast and even now I fear the moment when I have to leave my friends and go back to Germany.
Lucie Guertler

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