Thinking about leaving.
The new group arrives very soon. They’ll be here in a couple of weeks, training in Jerusalem, coming to see us in Bethlehem for orientation and on-site training for a few days, then back to Jerusalem while we wrap up our placement obligations, clean the house, say our farewells and get set to journey home.
Today finds me in Jerusalem, staying in the placement house with some of their team members while the rest of my team is on days off (an unfortunate overlap meant I’d be home alone – against policy – so I’m here). I’ve taken the opportunity to wander the Old City again. I’ve purchased a couple of stoles (paid more than I wanted to, but there you go), walking paths I’ve walked before, inside and outside her walls.
Sipping an Americano in the Anglican Church Coffee House, seeing David’s tower (an Ottoman Minaret) across the way. Close by the Swedish Christian Center where we saw a film on refugee camps, next door two buildings owned by the Orthodox Church, sold to Settlers via some unscrupulous third party, with rumours of corruption haunting the exchange. The Muslim Quarter anticipates a new intrusion with much trepidation. Settlers are known quantities.
Crossing out of the Old streets into East Jerusalem proper. Still a Palestinian place, sidewalk displays by shops and marketers, booths and stalls and milk crates supporting whatever’s on offer. Women in hijabs stroll confidently down the sidewalks. Men stand, tell stories, call their wares.
Minarets spring to life, music fills the air, melodic voices raise strains for the faithful, nearby and far off. Notes of worship blessing the streets with grace.
Pausing at a book store I cannot resist an offering that samples 1500 years of Arabic literature.
I begin my shift home in communion with the day to day of Jerusalem’s busy streets.