Out of the rain and into the sunny Jordan Valley a group of Israeli female water trusstees came to meet Palestinian female water trusstees.
Alumni from both sides lead the ice breaking games and laughter soon echoed at the quiet Baptism site named Qaser el Yahud.
To start the activities we linked arms, closed eyes, and passed arround a full glass of water, trying not to spill it. Reflecting on the metaphor, the girls said that the water felt very precious and they needed to communicate without words and cooperate to make sure they didn’t waste any water.
At the river, pilgrims dressed in white robes went into the Jordan for the most spiritual experience of their life, into water that is far from being the holy water that they fantasized about for years, brown murky water.
The girls divided into 3 groups. Each group studied a different period of the river – past, present and future. The historians found out the water in the river was once so abundant that boats were lost in its strong flow. The group researching the present time found that the pilgrims are dunking in polluted water and were shocked that this is allowed. The fortune tellers drew a picture of the river slowly getting back to life.
We presented our short research to a kind group of tourists who were visiting the site with the Auja Ecocenter and ended with the song we wrote a few months earlier “We will change it“. The tourists applaued the ecopeace singers who presented real girl power!
We continued to the nearby Monastery Dir Hijla, where Sandra, Palestinian participant guided the girls in the church and its surroundings, explaining in English the stories and traditions.
After lunch we finished with the tale of two donkies who are tied to each other and each donkey tries to pull to a different side to eat, untill they got to the conclusion that they can eat together.
The girls quickly understood the connection to the need for cooperation over our water sources. We need to find a solution together, that both sides will benefit.
Holding hands in a circle before farewell, each participant said a word she will take with her from the day – hope, love, trust, cooperation, friends, future.
Written By: Amy Lipman-Avizohar