|This image is from the CIA's The World Factbook|
People, it turns out, have been asking me what I'm going to be doing in Israel-Palestine. My answer has been along the lines of: Chilling. Because to my mind, in that we won't be performing taxing physical labor or wrangling/teaching childrens like other Quest trips The Crossing runs, it's pretty chilled out. But perhaps it yields a more realistic picture (and seems less hedonistic) to say we'll be meeting and talking with both Palestinian and Israeli peace activists.
Our group's itinerary is superb. This is largely the result of Eric Ogi, et al. having put the trip together like a boss.
This is what we'll be doing: visiting Biram, the village in which Melkite Greek Catholic Church Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Elias Chacour grew up, and the Mar Elias School in Ibillin. While we're in that area we'll also meet with Fr Chacour himself in Haifa, see the Sea of Galilee, and visit Nazareth.
Next we'll go to Jerusalem and the West Bank. We'll do some typical stuff in and around Jerusalem like visit Yad Vashem, the kotel, and various churches. But we'll also tour an Israeli settlement; meet with Dalia Eshkenazi-Landau, one of the central figures of the non-fiction book The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East; talk with folk from Rabbis for Human Rights, and visit the Sabeel Palestinian Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.
In the West Bank we'll go to the Freedom Theatre in Jenin: hang out in Ramallah; visit Jericho; tour the Aida Refugee Camp; visit Tent of Nations, an educational and environmental farm I heard a lecture about during the Fall 2012 semester at Edgewood College; stay overnight with a Palestinian family; and stay at the International Center of Bethlehem.
It is impossible for me to even type without smiling. This is the kind of thing I've been googling for the past few years--and now I actually get to go there and see this stuff and meet the people I've been reading about. My stomach knots, and I can only smile because it is unbelievable. My brain keeps looping the lyric, "This is crazy." And this is not even all the stuff we will be doing.
Please wish us godspeed, so to speak, and the ability to bring our best selves to our adventure.
Oh, and there will be a "shareholders'" event in mid-June at which attendees will share what they learned and experienced. If you're in or around Madison, please come to The Crossing.