So, those who know me have been well aware of how I have dedicated the last year of my life to this trip to Israel and Palestine. After months- 19 months to be exact- of meetings, and emails and planning and fund-raising, the trip is actually going to happen! I can't even tell you what we had to go though to get here. So many different challenges. We had to raise $65,000 through a series of fundraisers, and meetings and letter campaigns. We are still about $8,000 short and thinking we might be observing Ramadan by fasting not just for religious reasons but because food was cut out of the budget. (Just kidding- kinda) We really wanted this trip to be student run and without political, religious or any other agenda. This meant being transparent about our intentions and actions while also being considerate of every idea and opinion in the group. And were there ever diverse opinions! The group consists of Israeli's, Arabs, Americans, Persians; Christians, Muslims, Jews, Druze and a variety of personal onions. All of us had our opinions and every one of us agreed to not be afraid to stand by those opinions but be respectful of those that contradict our own. We don't really know what is going to happen. It's kinda like a "Real World" (MTV) for the real world. This is the true story of 14 "strangers" picked to travel to Israel-Palestine and study the conflict to find out what happens when people confront real issues surrounding the conflict ...The Olive Tree Initiative.
So this blog is going to take a little vacation to Israel and the West Bank... I will try to post stuff as much as possible, I dont know how often I will be able to do so but since I love you all very much but not enough to pay for international phone charges, this will be the best way to reach me until I am back on September 14.
Catch you on the flip side..
“...Human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change – personal change, community and organizational change, planetary change. If we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive. We share what we see, what we feel, and we listen to what others see and feel.... I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. Simple, honest, human conversation. Not meditation, negotiation, problem solving, debate, or public meetings. Simple, truthful conversation where we each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well.”