Saturday, 15 December 2012

Learning about London & Israeli settlements

The past two weeks grade 9 have been learning about life in London using a powerpoint.  I showed them pictures of the public transport system, parks and homes in London: terraced houses and council estates.  We also discussed how expensive London is to live in, making it difficult for many people to survive as well as the high number of homeless people.

Whilst showing them the cyclists in London, many girls said they have bikes and scooters which they enjoy using.  However, they only use them around their homes and not in the road.  Cycling in Abu Dis is not found as commonly as in London!

Grade 11 were also excited to see the diversity in London and amazed at the number of people at the protest against the attack on Gaza.  I was unable to see them this week as the previous headteacher had passed away.  She was a big part of the life for the teachers and students here as she was a very active woman.  She had taught the current headmistress, Miss Nidal, as well as many of the other teachers there.  Therefore last Tuesday the students spent the day reading Qu'ran; one could hear the Qu'ran verses being played on the sound system.

The funeral was that day, as in Islam people are buried within three days of passing away.  The teachers and students and arranged to attend.  The school has a marching band who also played at the funeral.  Talking to Miss Nidal I learnt that the previous headteacher had passed away from cancer.  She was talking about how the rate of cancer has increased drastically here but they do not know why.

Not too far from Abu Dis is a rubbish dump containing all the waste from the illegal Israeli settlements in Jerusalem.  As well as this, Ma'ale Adummim, which is one of the largest settlements (the population is six larger than the population of Abu Dis!) pumps raw sewage into land that belongs to families in Abu Dis and where the Bedouin (travelling) community live.  The instance of leukemia is much higher than the average as a result.  The Bedouins in this community will be greatly affected by the E1 settlement project that Israel are currently planning.

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