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.