17 October 2011

D-2 Meeting the children for the chess training

The chess training takes place at the Shiraa Association, which goal is to contribute to building up a modern civil society, and maintaining sustainable development. Their activities are mainly for kids and women and our chess project is towards both.
After school, around 3PM, the kids arrived at Shiraa so we could start our training. They were 25 and they were looking really interested in the game/sport.
The centre had bought all the necessary material (chess boards, chess clocks and a training chess board), for us to work in a good way. Rabea was my translator from English to Arabic, and we started with the basics, as it was for most of them, the first time they were hearing about this game.
The kids look like fast-learner, and always replied positively to my practise questions. They had a good understanding, and wrote a lot of notes for them to be able to repeat at home.
I also improved, as I now know the Arabic names for all the pieces :)

D-2 The refugee Camp

On the first day in Dheisha Refugee Camp, my host Hussein, the manager of Shiraa Association For Development, took me for a tour in the Camp.
These family refugees have been chased away from their villages in 1948. Hussein showed me a 7 square meters room he was living in with 11 members of his family during 10 years. This room is now part of the Association.
The hope to return one day to their village is still on their mind: he explained me all the elderly people in the camp still have their house keys and leave them to their sons when dying.
We arrived on a square he called the "Death square" because 25 kids have been shot there. The houses and streets are in a poor estate.
It is depressing to see how lucky we can be without even realising it. Along the way, several children, mainly girls, were following us, surprised to see an European girl. Here is a picture of one of them... As you can see on the wall, it is written Barcelona! They are big fans of the Barca Football team.
Hussein and his family were really happy the day I arrived, because they had just received the water for the month, after 4 days with no water at all. I am being as careful as one can be when using their water !

Tomorrow, a big traditional celebration is planned: Hussein's brother is getting out of prison after 10 years spent there!
The whole camp is in joy even if some prisoners are still there; we can appreciate the solidarity they have between each others. Hussein explained to me that the women will be in the kitchen or in the house singing and dancing, while the men will all be outside in the streets. I asked why and he replied "This is our habit. When I was born, it was like that, what can I do?". I asked him if his wife could go outside during the party if she wanted to and he said "No, because there will be too many men! She can watch through the window". :) This was my European question, but actually, Nadja, his wife, is happy this way, spending the time with her girl friends.