Tent of Nations “Students Buidling Bridges”

On the morning of Friday,March 28, we took 33 students on a field trip to the Tent of Nations, where the mission is building bridges between people, with people and the land,and bringing people of various cultures together to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace.
This land is under threat of confiscation by the Israeli military; therefore, we set projects which aim to demonstrate solidarity with the local people and to keep the land productive, keeping the Tent of Nations projects alive.
This educational trip is a link with the program that we are doing with the students to raise awareness in terms of nationality and the importance of affiliation with the land.Due to the fact that March 30 is Palestinian Land Day, the students planted olive trees up on the hill.
Starting with a short hike up to the farm, we had the chance to talk with one another and get to know the area and observe the few settlements around us. They got excited to hear about the Tent of Nations by AmalNassar, one of the siblings of the owner of the land, and she and her brother DaherNassar explained about the importance of the family staying on the land.We then opened a time for discussion where the students had a chance to ask questions and share their ideas.
Afterwards, we had a tour around the land; they showed us the wells, the different kinds of almond trees, and the caves that are still there.This got the studentsintriguedso they asked more questions and befriended Daher, who gave them the tools and the olive trees for them to plant.Each student had their own tree to plant, which was exciting for them, and it was the first time for most of them to plant a tree.
As leaders, we were always around the students during the planting of the trees, trying to explain the difference about the different kinds of soiland how to work with it accordingly; for example, smooth soil is easiest, but with rocky soil, we showed them how to use the area surrounding it instead of just leaving it. We emphasized the importance of keeping the treealive by watering, which also reflects the situation of our lives in order to survive through the conflict, whether it was the political situation or our daily lives. We reflected on these issues in light of the upcoming Land Day.
After some working hours, we got to have Lenten lunch prepared by the Nassarfamily.After lunch we were divided into three groups, and each group chose to sit in a quiet place away from the other groups.We reflected on what we heard, saw and did, and about what they expected and how they felt about it.
We were working with students from different backgrounds, and some of the students had never experienced being outdoors in a wide field.This caught their attention and some of them wanted to explore the area more, and decided to go on a hike for a short period of time after they were done with the program. Because of the sensitivity of the place, surrounded with settlements, we got a little nervous about the attitude of some of the students; but on the other hand, we understand their excitement and their enthusiasm to explore more, and this encouraged us to have more similar programs with them in the near future.
They were really glad that they could make it, and had a memorable experience; they even asked for another educational trip, including organizing a 2-3 day camping in the area.