20 October 2011

D-5 Checkmate at Shiraa

Back to Shiraa and its beautiful kids always eager to learn some more.

We repeated the whole thing all over again: each kid was coming to the board and giving all the information about one figure to the others: how many points it's worth, how it moves, how it eats, if it can go back / jump etc ...
There are always some kids saying it is too easy, and when arriving at the board, they get it wrong :)

Girl Power !
Check and checkmate in one move exercises were on the board today, and I was really impressed by one girl ! She found all the answers before the rest of the class, and the more she had it right, the more she wanted to keep on.
In the previous days, she was not specially above the others, so work definitely pays off !

Time to play
We got the chessboards out for the children to play some real games! Unfortunately, there are not enough tables, so we put them all directly on the floor... I thought it was not very practical to play but I have been told they are used to do activities on the floor :)
I could pair them by level, which was really interesting for them; I could stay more helping the one in difficulties whereas the others were happily playing. You always get some situation when they call you for some help, and you arrive and see both kings in check, or a king missing ;) They all speak a little bit of English, and Rabea (Hussein's son) is always helping me anyway.

As you can see on the picture, he has 2 bishops on the same diagonal ... However, almost all the girls lost against the boys, grrrrr :) Even the best girl ! I noticed she was very competitive though, as a boy ... it is definitely a big asset to play !

D-5 More celebration for the released prisoners

Today, Hussein took me to the University of Bethlehem where he was invited to represent his brother in a celebration organised by the Student Union.

There were many Palestinian flags in the uni, as well as peace posters.
The room was full, there were about 200 people, all very enthusiastic !
Two students introduced themselves and the ones following: associations for the prisoners, ministry... It was quite long and in Arabic so of course I was getting a bit bored... I felt better when Hussein told me he was falling asleep as well :)
The atmosphere was really nice though, people were happy, and there was some very loud traditional music on.
When the speeches finished, a group of singers arrived, and everyone one was singing with them... from the youngest to the oldest :)

Then, they called the 6 prisoners (3 women and 3 men) who were released and allowed to come back home to Bethlehem... and they gave them a special Hero Price. Among them, was the Russian girl Eliana, who just spent 6 years in prison... her daughter and mother were there as well. They also gave the name of the ones who were released but could not return to their home: Hussein went to pick the price for his brother.
Hussein explained me not everyone in the room has the chance to have a member of his family released: there was an old lady who is still waiting for her son, after 28 years in jail. As Hussein's brother, her son received a 100 years detention pain (it was definitely a surprise for Hussein's family to learn he was going to be free then!). All the returned prisoners were giving her a kiss on the head.