19 October 2011

D-4 Our 3rd chess session at Shiraa

Today, as yesterday, we started by rehearsing what we have been learning through the 2 first sessions.
We can see now a growing gap between some children and the others: some are very fast learners who want to go forward, whereas some others still have difficulties to assimilate the figures' different ways of moving. I think from tomorrow on, I will need to divide the class with appropriate activities for each group.
We learnt how to make "Check" and how it could lead to a "Checkmate" with exercises... The good thing is that they are all actively participating, and fighting to be the one to come and show the move on the big board!

Now they are all wearing their Peace & Sport t-shirt which make them feel like part of a project and they love it.

Team Game
To be honest, the boys are much stronger when it is time to play as a team. They won again the game against the girls very easily: they finished their game with a queen, a rook, a bishop, and almost all their pawns whereas the girl had nothing left !
It's hard to explain where this difference is coming from; it has nothing to do with their intelligence. I see the boys as more competitive, and motivated... They only speak between each other about the game and how to win, whereas most of the girls are chit-chatting ;)

"Courage, effort, creativity, respect for the rules, the opponent and the environment, the acceptance of defeat, discipline, plus the continual quest for progress are all values that Chess can put at the service of vulnerable youth to help them build a better future." I really try my best to make them all participate, respect the other team and shake hands even when loosing, as well as maintaining the rules like "a figure touched has to be played"even if it's a rule they definitely don't like!

D-4 Celebration for the released prisoners

About 300 Palestinian prisoners have been released yesterday in exchange of an Israeli soldier.
Among them, was one of Hussein's brother who just spent 10 full years in prison, from 24 to 34 years old.
Only 3 members of the family (his mother, and two sisters) had the permission to visit him, so Hussein has not seen his brother for 10 years... and actually he is not going to see him any time soon either, as he is not allowed to leave Gaza. Unfortunately, for Hussein and his family, it is almost impossible to reach Gaza...

In order to celebrate this amazing news, a traditional celebration has been organised in his honour, in his family's house.
As I was explaining in a previous post, men are having their party outside, whereas women are having their own inside. I was obviously at the women's party :)
It started very early, around 5h30 PM. About 40 women were sitting in the living room, until one of them started to play the tambour. Several women then stood up and started to dance and sing. They don't put any CD, they are their own music... and a pretty amazing one!

Of course, there is no alcohol circulating, only sweets and juices. They kept dancing for hours ! Every time someone was leaving, someone else was arriving... I think about 150 women from the whole camp showed up that night, the room was always full. Among the guests, I noticed one my little students, she ran to kiss me and introduced me to her mom: it was so cute.
At some point, the phone rang, and one of them sitting by the phone heard it. One of Hussein's sister replied and started to cry immediately: it was their "free" brother!
I looked through the window, and the men's party looked quite similar with everyone dancing. They had some music on though... I asked Eliana the house's keys, she explained me her dad had them and she could not go to his party to ask him "Noooo, there are many men !"... She asked a little girl to help us, for whom it was not an issue :)
I felt so lucky to be in this room, the only non-Palestinian person ! The communication was not easy though, as no one spoke English, but I tried to enjoy my situation to the most.