Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm Home

Today as I was walking down the hall on my way to lunch, I ran into some of my friends who are students at the college. "COME ON!" they said excitedly, as they grabbed my hands and dragged me with them into a meeting room full of American tourists who were visiting BBC. "What's going on?" I asked the coordinator. "Oh," he told me, "this is a group from Notre Dame. They wanted to meet some Palestinian Christian students while they were in the West Bank." I turned back to my friends. "I'm not supposed to be here," I told them, getting ready to leave, "they want to meet with Palestinians, not me."

"It's okay," one of the students assured me, "you are one of us now."

Stunned, I sat down between Jabra and Sally, and it began to dawn on me that I really am one of them. Slowly but surely, Palestine has become my home, and I have begun to belong here. After introducing ourselves, we broke up into smaller groups and I sat with my friend Haneen, an absolutely beautiful soul from Ramallah who lives at the college. (Even though Ramallah is only 14 miles away from Bethlehem, because of the Apartheid Wall and the checkpoints, it can take Haneen anywhere between 1.5-4 hours to get from her home to the Bible College, so she lives in the dorms here at school.) She complained about how terrible her English is, I complained about how terrible my Arabic is, and then we took deep breaths, linked our arms together, and emotionally prepared ourselves for the difficult task of discussing the occupation with people who had never encountered it before.

I realized something, right then and there: it is going to break my heart to leave these beautiful people who have become like family, and this incredible place that has become my home.

Honestly, in four months when it comes time for me to head back to the United States, I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it.

1 comment:

  1. I am feeling the exact same way here in Nica, it has become a subject that is banned at my house right now:) I love reading your blogs, keep it up!