14 November 2011

D-25 The inauguration

Unfortunately, due to some personal issues, I had to stop the experience one week before the end. We therefore organised a little event on the 10th of November instead of the 18th with a meeting in 2 centers: Qattana and Deisha.

In the morning, the inauguration was planned to be in Qattana at 11h at the girls school.
All the little girls were there, accompanied by their parents.
Diya made a speech about the project, the children, and thanked me for being there. I received a few nice presents, and among them the Coran translated in French !
For my part, I also explained more about Peace and Sport and read the letter written by Kirsan Ilioumjinov
to represent the FIDE.

I gave a simul against 20 girls, with the strongest girls among them (4 palestinian champions in junior categories!), so it was not that easy for me, who has played only a few games these past years !
In the end, I won all my games and drew one with Wala, a teenager that had accommodated me into her house upon my arrival in Qattana.

Once the simul finished, I offered 3 medals to the best workers of the week: 2 for the best beginners Gazel and Waraf and 1 for the most motivated of the strongest level, Yara. She really impressed me all week long with her fastness to solve the tactic exercises.

In the afternoon, we headed to Bethlehem to meet with the children I had worked with during my first week in Palestine, at the Deisha Refugee Camp.
I was so glad to see them again and they were really happy to see me too. They all hugged me and took my contact details.

They had prepared a little speech for me said my Maysan in Arabic, and translated in English by Ahmed while offering me a nice palestinian handmade scarf.

I also spoke about Peace and Sport, and once again read the letter representing the FIDE.
Once the speeches over, we arranged a blitz game between Diya and I: these 5 minutes games are always very impressive for beginners.

 All the kids wanted to play with me afterwards, and I was pleased to see they kept on improving, with their bi weekly training with Rabea.

D-24 Meetings with 2 NGO

On Wednesday, I met Colin, the director of Jerusalem Suburbs Community, in charge of 2 centres in Jerusalem: Kfar Akeb and Dahiat El Sallam.

He explained me more about the way he works, the funds, and all the projects accomplished already.
 Both centres offer a wide range of activities for children as well as for adults: football, volley, petit tennis, chess, judo and all type of sports, as well as language lessons: English and Hebrew or art workshop.
He is working with the ministry of transports to arrange a better connection for these areas to the city centre.
Last year, he managed to open an hospital as the only things they had before were some nurseries.

Later in the day, I met the director of another NGO called Care Palestine. I had already met Dr Ghassan two weeks ago, as he is our main collaborator with the 3 centres I have been in: Shiraa in Bethlehem, Al-Mahawer in Hebron and Qattana Sports Club in Qattana.
I gave him a full report about my experience in the centres, and he told me about his future projects for chess in Palestine.
He would like to set up a full training for educators of the National Education for them to then be able to teach their students at school.

D-21, 22, 23 days off

The holidays has come for the Arabic population and for me too by the way :)

We took this opportunity to visit Jericho, the lowest city on earth, but also the oldest inhabited. From Jericho, we went to the Dead See and experienced the floating experience as well as the mud one !

We then took the time to visit Jerusalem, a beautiful city even if you can feel the tension with many areas going from an Israeli neighbourhood to a Palestinian one.
They also have different buses and it is absolutely out of question for a Palestinian to enter an Israeli bus and vice-versa.

06 November 2011

D-20 Nablus

Yesterday, a day tour to Nablus was organised by the chess federation for my husband (who arrived on Friday) and I.

We went there accompanied by Diya, and met the secretary of the Federation Jiyad.

Once again, they showed how generous they are: it is really amazing! It was impossible for us to pay anything and we had to fight hard even to be able to pay for our souvenirs gifts! It almost made us uncomfortable as we are the one coming from Europe; however, for them, it was something really natural and there
was nothing to discuss. When we were trying to pay,
the sellers were systematically refusing our money because they got the orders from Jiyad in Arabic not to. They were explaining "You visit us in Palestine, of course you don't pay! Melissa is like our sister, and now Tim you are in the family too". hahaha

Nablus has a lot to offer to tourists: there are some archaeological ruins from 2000 before JC, and the old city is very charming: little streets and souk.

We got so much food (forced by the Palestinians) it became ridiculous ! But it was delicious ;)

Nablus and Ramallah were both full of people as everybody was coming to the city to get prepared with new dresses and a lot of sweets. Indeed, they are all on holidays for 4 days, from today on. Therefore, the youth centers will be closed and I won't be able to teach this week in Jerusalem. I will take this opportunity to travel around Palestine with my husband.

D- 18 and 19 Last days in Qattana

Thursday arrived, with the last training in Qattana.

The beginners have reached a basic level and the strongest girls have been working really hard during this week.

Diya and I are hoping we could arrange an exchange with a club outside of Palestine, for them to travel and compete with girls from another country. It will certainly help them improving: competition, new opponents, new training.

As we have an inauguration on the 10th of November, I saved the medals for this special occasion. We took anyway a few pictures, here is one with the advanced level (and Narmine, the little brother who wanted to appear here).

As usual Diya was kind enough to take the time and make me tour as much as possible his little village, and I really appreciate him for that.

We went to a kinder garden so I could meet the director and her daughter (another chess player, but with exams this week!) and visit the place: it is not really modern as they are lacking financial help, but kids are having a lot of fun :)

Diya also showed me the water "hole" as he called it: anyone from the village can go and take some water when missing in his family. It is mountain water. Every two minutes, a new person is coming with some barrel to fill.

On Friday, I could visit another holy land: the place where Jesus has been seen 2 days after his death. I got quite annoyed when the guide started to be religiously pushy with "God" and told me I should think more about it, as one day, I will be in front of God for the judgement and it will be too late.

03 November 2011

D-17 Day off

Yesterday, we could not have any training as the children had some exams at school.

Therefore, I spent the day in Ramallah with my family, as well as 3 sisters and the mother of my host: with such a group, the trip was quite chaotic :) . We took a shared cab to get there, which surprised me because we had 2 cars. Actually, they explained me the cars were in a too poor estate to get to the city, and had not been checked since a long time.... Hmm, in the village, we are using them all the time though and the road is quite bad ! In the taxi, I wanted to put my seat belt, and it was stuck : the driver yelled at me ... Translation: "Why are you annoying me with your seat belt, you don't need it !!"... OK.

Ramallah is nice and messy as you would expect. The family was getting crazy, stopping in each and every shop. At some point, I bought some stuff too, but refused to take a plastic bag. The cashier said "Pff, another one of these occidentals going green". LOL

I had never seen so many long coats in the same shop before ...

In the evening, I was invited for dinner to another family's house. I found there 2 of my students. The family is composed of the parents, and 7 children: 6 girls and a boy.
My host explained me they felt like they really needed to try until they got a boy (the last one!) as the girls are getting married and going with a new family, meanwhile men will keep the family land, the name etc...

Their house is located near by the wall... They showed me their neighbour's house, a destroyed one, between theirs and the wall. It has been burnt down because judged as too close to the wall by the Israelis.
We spent the night playing chess, eating (too much as usual here) and speaking about the recent UNESCO decision. The father was very upset with the reply from the Israelis: more settlements, less money.
He just said "We will just continue on living peacefully. I have the hope our children will be smarter and everything will settle down at some point".

D-16 Training in Qattana

We got an important visit today: Khaled, the president of the Palestinian Chess Federation stopped by to say hi, and see how things were going.

I keep on training the 6-7 girls with a stronger level.

They are good in some areas of the game, but their openings are quite terrible, so I am trying to focus on that, as well as tactic exercises.

There is a very talented girl, named Yara. She is 12 years old, and is actually the Palestinian Champion Under 12. She is very good in tactics and finds all the solutions before the others (like the Palestinian Champion Under 16!), I am quite impressed with her. She'll definitely get her medal at the end of the week :)

D-16 Conversation with an old man

As I was stated in a previous post, the grand father in the family I am staying with, is already considered as an old man, with his 60 years old.

Every evening, he likes to come by, to bring me some sweets and practise his English.

- You know, I have 7 daughters and 5 sons.
- And they all live here in Qattana?
- No, there is one in Jordan, and one in Germany.
- Germany?
- Yes, he moved there to study. I want him to come back and get married here.
- Is he coming soon?
- No... The last time he came, I introduced him to a beautiful girl, but he doesn't want her.
- Really?
- Yes, I really don't understand why ! She is young and beautiful ! I know her family, she cooks very well !
- Hmm, he must have taken the European mentality then ;)
- No, no, no ... I am waiting for him, I have another girl to show him.


31 October 2011

D-15 Qattana's school and training

Today, in the morning, I was invited to give a little speech about chess, its benefits, my experience and the reason of my presence here.
I spoke about the game in general: the history and basics, how it was considered as a sport (brain gymnastic!), how computers could beat humans now, how women could defeat men... I explained also how the game was applying to life in many ways: decision making, planning, working rewards, as well as how it could increase their memory, creativity, way of thinking...

The speech was given to girls around 14 years old. The director of the school, who was very pleased with this meeting, was translating for me from English to Arabic.
It lasted about 45 minutes and the girls were really attentive. At the end, they asked me a few questions, like if I was enjoying their country, who taught me how to play chess, how many championships I have played, if I knew Enrique Iglesias (lol) etc ...

It was interesting for all of us and the girls looked happy: as usual here, I made a strong impression as a European girl. In the corridors, I had always dozen of girls around me just staring at me and smiling :)

In the afternoon, we had our chess session, and as per Diya's wishes, I keep on training the strongest girls. They have a national championship coming soon, at the end of November, to be played by team, and are really looking forward to it.
The hope of winning gives them a lot of motivation!

D-15 Qattana's Village

As usual in Palestine, here in Qattana, people are very welcoming, warm-hearted, generous...

Every meal is a celebration, with so much food as you can see on the picture (coming soon).

Unfortunately, these people really don't have an easy life. Qattana is surrounded by the "Discrimination wall": the wall and settlements are part of the view from anywhere in the village.

As we were touring around the village, Diya asked me:
- Do you see this boy?
Yes, I was seeing a little boy on 2 crutches at the bus stop, with a lot of difficulties to stand up.
Diya then explained me this kid was shot by settlers while he was at school ! It happened a few months ago...
The boys school is located very close to a settlement, and along the years, about 30 children of the village have been injured at school, 2 have died, and some are in prison.

The settlers' proximity is a source of anxiety and concern in their daily life. Some fireshots (in the air) and gas bombs are reported daily in Qattana.

30 October 2011

D-14 School and training in Qattana

Today, in the morning, Diya (the chess trainer in Qattana) offered me to come to a school with him.
Public schools are not mixed here... We went to a school where are studying 740 girls from 6 to 14 years old.
I have been introduced to the school director, a very nice woman, who took me for a tour around the school. It is very modern and colourful. They have so many ideas and projects going on, for a better future.
Among them, there is the chess project of course: Diya started to teach 2 years ago there. The class is optional and lasts 5 hours (very long class!) every Saturday.
The girls have been awarded many times already as I was explaining in a previous post.
She also showed me the art room, with many hand made jewelleries, decorations etc only created by the girls. The objective is to increase as much as possible their creativity for a better self-thinking.

The issue they have at the moment is a shortness in the staff and space. There are about 40 girls in each class, which is not really convenient. The director explained me the school has been built thanks to a german donation, and has been extended 4 years ago.

I have been asked to give a little talk to a class tomorrow, to speak about chess and its assets in general, my experience, and the Peace and Sport project.

In the afternoon, back to the youth centre. Here is a picture of Diya and his girls :)

Diya really wanted me take in charge the strongest girls while he was dealing with the beginners.
They all have a good sense of the game, but are lacking some basic knowledge: we worked on tactics exercises, writing their games and commenting them afterwards etc ...

Thinking sisters on the left !

I noticed they were very motivated and focused: after 2h30 of full training, they were still asking for more and more exercises!

D-13 My dream is...

Yesterday morning, Mohammed, my new translator and I went to Ramallah and walked around the city centre.

Mohammed is an English teacher, he's fluent even though he has never been to an English speaking country. Actually, as many Palestinians I have met here, the only time he's been out of the country was in Jordan, as they can go there by bus.
At some point, during our conversation, Mohammed told me:
- I have been dreaming to go to the beach for 10 years now.
- Where about? I asked naively (already thinking about some heavenly islands!)
- To Haifa (Israel). It is so beautiful there and so close to us, but we have no access to it.
He also told me he could go to the Dead Sea but it is divided into Israeli and Arabic, and according to him, the Palestinian side is very dirty.

In the evening, during the dinner with my new family, they were telling me a bit more about themselves. They have 5 children, and all the brothers / sisters / cousins / parents live in houses around. During the evening, I could actually meet many of them as they all go from one house to another all the time :)
The mom insisted for me to come and see the view from the balcony.
- This right here is Israel (very close by, with the "Discrimination wall" in the middle), and over there, you can see Jerusalem. Jerusalem is such a beautiful city, I would love to go there, but I have no access.
The dad added that his dream was to go to the Mosque in Jerusalem.

I also met the grand father: he is 62 years old and even though for us it is not a big age, in Palestine they already consider him as an old man.
He is still working like crazy: he wakes up everyday at 2h30 to leave his house a 3 o' clock. He is working at 7 am but he has 3 buses to take and a couple of check-points to go through...
At the end of his working day, around 5 pm, he has to do the return trip and gets home around 8pm.
He explained to me that his job is no located that far away, and before, he could reach it in an 1h, but now he has to get round the wall and it takes ages.
- If only we could be living all together with no occupation and controls everywhere... We would be happy to coexist, we are not asking to be independent.

I have already heard this so many times during my trip...

D-13 First chess training in Qattana

Today was my first meeting with the children in Qattana.

The goal of having mostly girls in the class has been fully achieved here, as there are approximately 20 girls and 2 boys :)

Most children are beginners, but there are actually 6 girls who are already much stronger. 4 of them are Palestinian champions under 12 years old, 14 years old, 16 years old and 18 years old ! They also won the Palestinian Junior Championship by team.
I was definitely not expecting such a level in this little village and was really impressed !

I must say that Diya has done an amazing work here. He's their trainer, and also a FIDE arbiter. He is very fond of the game and learnt on his own with some books.
He is happy though that I am here as he would like his girls to improve, and meet someone with more experience in competitions.

So, we are dividing the class in two groups in Qattana. While the beginners are learning the basic rules, we will work on tactic exercises and some openings for the stronger ones: luckily I brought some books for better level in case such cases happen.

29 October 2011

D-12 Ramallah and Qattana

Friday, I arrived in Ramallah early to meet Dr Ghassan and his coordinator Johanna in the head office of the association "Care Palestine".
It was a very interesting meeting where I related my two first weeks, giving them a full report.
Care Palestine is working on many other projects apart from chess, always educational orientated.

After our lunch, they took me to Qattana village where I will be staying for a week. On the way, we stopped and took a hitchhiker. We soon realised that he was going to the exact same place as us and that he was knowing the person we would meet there.
He then said "My nephew Diya is the manager of Qattana Youth centre and he is waiting for the chess champion to come" ! Jajaja... Small world :)
We left him at his house and he insisted for us to meet his grand daughters who will be coming to the chess training.

After having visited the centre, I was introduced to my family for the night. Yes, for the night only, as in Qattana, everyone was willing to welcome me, so I will be changing house everyday ! (very nice of them, but probably a bit exhausting for me!).
I spent the evening with the mom, two daughters (one speaking English) and one cousin (speaking English as well). They absolutely wanted me to try the traditional dress ...

We spoke about our different ways of lives. For them, life in Palestine in much easier than in Europe cause they don't have self satisfaction issues , consummation issues etc... They say that we drink too much alcohol and they don't like the fact that we can have several loves in our lives: according to them, true love is the one they have as they stay with the same person forever...

27 October 2011

D-12 Last day in Hebron

I think we managed this week to teach the new ones the basics, and to develop the skills of the advanced ones. We rehearsed a bit what have been done through the week and it was well assimilated.

I am glad to say, the girls won the team game today ! And they were also the best in resolving the exercises.

As it was the last day, we had a mini ceremony and I gave one medal to the best girl and one to the best boy. They were so proud of themselves! They promised to keep on working on their skills :) The centre also offered me a huge teddy bear; that's a nice attention ... I don't know how I am going to travel with it though :)
The two best kids wanted to play a last game against each other... The girl won ;)

In the below picure, you can see the two best children with Ahmede, their future trainer (who is also the guy who loves to be beaten by me!) 

Here is a pic with some of the girls... :)

Tomorrow, I will take a bus to Ramallah for some more adventures within a new centre !

D-11 On the way to Al-Mahawer

The house is located just a couple of hundred meters away from the youth centre Al-Mahawer, but it seems like a big journey full of adventures anyway!

I don't think I have mentioned already that the whole building is occupied by Samir's family, mainly his brothers and their wives. All the doors are always open and one goes from one to another apartment without knocking.

On the floor below us, I stop by and said Hi to my Internet friend :) I am going to her place quite often to check my emails as she is the only one with internet. She is 20 years old and has already 3 children of 2 years old, 1 year old and 2 weeks !
The oldest one of 2 years old seems really aggressive, I already saw him hitting his brother and sister but also his mom.

On the ground floor lives another woman of the family. She hides herself to smoke... Even though her husband smokes a lot, he forbids her to do the same...

Then, I leave the building and at the entrance, I find myself brought into a kid's fight. Sudheim just received a ball in the head, thrown on purpose by his cousin, the aggressive 2 years old. As a reply, Sudheim just spits in his cousin's face. I feel quite disgusted.

Then, I keep on in the street... There are something like 30 kids all over the place...

Soon after I start walking I have something like 10 of them around me :) The main phrases come back "Hello!", "Welcome!", "What's your name?", "How are you?", "I love you!"..

Before going to the centre, I stop at a little grocery shop to buy some water... All the kids come in with me ... I see a barely walking child, around 18 months old buying cigarettes ! Probably, his dad sent him, but still !!!

When going out of the shop, I notice a car going down the road very fast as usual ... All the kids are going towards the pavement, except a little girl who goes straight to the car... Oh my god, the car brakes like crazy and uuuffff that was close ...

So many emotions in just 5 minutes !!! Now it is time to teach ...

D-11 The training goes on at Al-Mahawer

The training is definitely not as easy in Al-Mahawer, as we have some new children coming everyday !

So, we have some children quite advanced and some who are just starting...
Luckily, the future trainer, Ahmede that I am also teaching is playing already a little bit, and can help me with the newbies :)

It keeps annoying me but all the team games have been won by the boys !

25 October 2011

D-10 Hebron city centre

Today, after the class, Manar took me to the old city and the city centre of Hebron.

To get to the old city, we had to go through 2 check points, and Manar was not really comfortable with it. The "chance" he has in this complicated situation is his European looking face combined with a perfect English (plus a true European girl by his side!). So he just plays the tourist as they don't ask for the passport...
When getting face to face with setlers, all the palestinians look at their feet though.

The old city is beautiful and full of shops... At every corner, a man was shouting to me "Welcome to Palestine!"

It was really nice to see another part of the city! The city centre is messy and dusty as I like it :)

Another thing is that people are driving like Crazy! There are no red lights, cars are going very very fast and with nobody wearing a belt of course. People are walking in the middle of the streets (Manar was doing the same and I was not feeling really safe!).

On the way back, I bought some vegetables and cooked a french quiche ... Hmm, it was so nice to eat something from back home :) Don't get me wrong, I like a lot the food here, but I am a bit sick of falafel and hommus for breakfast !

D-9 and 10 in Al-Mahawer

On the first day, I did not get the chance to speak too much with the manager of the centre, so he absolutely wanted us to meet and talk yesterday in his office. He expressed a lot his gratitude for my presence in his centre, and repeated many times that I was here at home, and could ask whatever I wanted. Arabic people are always very welcoming.

In this centre, we have some more teenagers; in fact, the class is open to children from 12 to 15 but in Shira, they were all around 12-13. The teenagers are not as easy to teach, but we are doing our best, my translator Manar and I :)

When they play individually, the boys can be quite aggressive between each other, so I try to make some team work as much as possible. As a team, they get along better.

As the level is a bit more advanced, we are doing exercises with check-mates in 2 moves, and learning also how to win some common finals of games: they come to the board and play one move each which forced them to think all together.

There are some talented girls in the team: they understand everything new faster that the others, and have a good global image of the board, whereas the others are mostly stuck looking at only one side.
However, yesterday and today, in the team game, the boys won ! (again and again!).

They got also their project t-shirt. I think it is really important for them to be included in this project and to wear them. In the street, I met two moms with my students, and they were thanking me for coming here and teaching them, as during this time they are not in the streets and they do something constructive.

24 October 2011

D-9 The life in Hebron...

My new family does not live exactly in the centre of Hebron but a bit further, which makes the place not as safe.
Every night, I spend a couple of hours with Samir's wife (Samir is the manager of Al-Mahawer youth centre), helping her in her daily job. She prepares about 250 snacks for a few schools everyday. It is actually a job opportunity given by Al-Mahawer for the women to work as well: they are giving them the choice between several formations (cooking, sewing, creating jewelleries etc). On the picture, you can see some sweets we prepared together.


We take advantage of this time together to chat. She explained me Hebron is a closed minded city compared to Bethlehem for instance. She does not want to wear her headscarf, but if she doesn't do so, she'd be insulted in the streets.
She told me that quite often, once or twice a month, some Israeli come to the neighbourhood... She showed me a couple of videos of them actually throwing rocks at their buildings, and yelling "We are all going to kill you, you Arabic people"... They can come at any time of the day, and during this time, nobody moves ! I met her nephew, who received a bullet in his leg, for no reason, while he was inside his building, at the entrance. He now has some difficulties to walk.

Here is a picture taken in front of the building...

She showed me another video of her son, Soudehm (5 years old and so cute) seeing some Palestinian soldiers through the window. He is yelling "I am a man, I am not afraid of these soldiers, I will fight for my family!" :) Then, he is going to the door, and a soldier happened to be entering a the same time. Soudhem instantly starts crying "please don't shoot me, please don't shoot me!".
It is very strange to see a little boy of only 5 years old with this type of reaction.

23 October 2011

D-8 Starting at Al-Mahawer in Hebron

This afternoon, we started our chess activities in the youth centre Al-Mahawer, when the children got back from school. Yes, a Sunday :) Their free days are actually Friday and Saturday.

I got a new translator who speaks very good English, and we brought all the chess boards, so we were ready. My translator plays a little bit already, and told me that in Arabic, the queen is not called the queen but something like the assistant of the King !!! It tells a lot about their society !

After a quick check-up, I was quite impressed by their level already as I realised almost all the kids were already knowing the position of the starting game, the figures' names and their way of moving. 
So this week will definitely not be similar as last week, as we will be going forward into some more complicated exercises and situations.

One of the animator at the centre was saying he was really good and absolutely wanted to play against me to beat me. It was very funny as I won very easily 6 or 7 times and all the kids (mostly girls) were around the table laughing... Our main target is the feminine population, so it was really a good example for them to see me winning against a man... They were impressed and it motivated them !

D-7 My new family in Hebron

Yesterday afternoon, I have been relocated to Hebron, where I will be giving my second week of chess training in another centre.
When arriving in the neighbourhood of my new family, I felt quite "impressed" by the situation: there are no proper streets, the place is full of junks, and kids are playing in the middle of it.
I felt better when entering the building as the flat was clean and the family is really nice.
They have 3 kids of 14, 12 and 5 years old, and I like them a lot already: they look very happy and full of energy.

The mom and dad are actually cousins (first degree cousins!)... and got married when she was 15 and he was 27... Once again, a cultural shock ...
The mom speaks a bit english and we had some interesting conversation. I explained her that a marriage between cousins is legal in my country but very rare and she was having a hard time understanding why.
Her oldest son is quite sick though, he has some real sight issues.

D-7 Emmanuel Monastery

Yesterday was my first day off this week so I decided to go visit my husband Timothee's cousin, Laure in her monastery. She has been living there for 10 years already and is really happy.
The monastery is located just in front of the wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, near by a check-point.
Laure, in her 10 years spent there, has learnt a lot and lived some very difficult situations; however, she would not like to be anywhere else, as she feels her and her sister's support is really important for the population.
The monastery is a very peaceful place, simple but beautiful, and as soon as you enter, you feel very welcomed.

21 October 2011

D-6 The engagement party !

This late afternoon, the whole family was invited to an engagement party.
I was walking by Hussein when we arrived in front of the house and he told me "Ok, see you later, I am going with the men now". I was shocked and asked "Do you mean that men and women are having a separate celebration even for an engagement party?". He replied "Of course, this is our habit" as he likes to say :)
It was very difficult for me to understand: even if I knew they were often divided, I assumed they would share this moment all together, as a symbol of the union of a man with a woman.
I was thinking that maybe they prefer to wait to be married for the mixed party, but Hussein told me that it depends on the family: they could actually also be divided for the wedding.
So I went to the women's party... It was really nice, the bride-to-be was wearing a long black dress with many sparkling buttons, and everyone was all dressed up. I was surprised by the big amount of make-up used, even on the little girls, as well as the fancy dresses and hair cuts that we would define as "very kitsch" ;)
The bride-to-be was sitting on some kind of "throne" and all the women were dancing for her ! This time, there was some music on ... :)

I was glad to see the groom arriving at some point, for some dancing, but also for a little ceremony where he offered a necklace to his fiance.
They both looked really happy !

I met 2 of my little students there, with their very cute brother, as you can on the picture.

After the party, I asked Hussein how was the men's party like, and he told me they were just chatting and having coffee... So I was happy I was with the girls :) I noticed the future bride was not around for a moment, and thought maybe she also met her fiance at the other party, but Hussein explained me that only the man can go party with the women... ;)