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.