03 November 2011

D-17 Day off

Yesterday, we could not have any training as the children had some exams at school.

Therefore, I spent the day in Ramallah with my family, as well as 3 sisters and the mother of my host: with such a group, the trip was quite chaotic :) . We took a shared cab to get there, which surprised me because we had 2 cars. Actually, they explained me the cars were in a too poor estate to get to the city, and had not been checked since a long time.... Hmm, in the village, we are using them all the time though and the road is quite bad ! In the taxi, I wanted to put my seat belt, and it was stuck : the driver yelled at me ... Translation: "Why are you annoying me with your seat belt, you don't need it !!"... OK.

Ramallah is nice and messy as you would expect. The family was getting crazy, stopping in each and every shop. At some point, I bought some stuff too, but refused to take a plastic bag. The cashier said "Pff, another one of these occidentals going green". LOL

I had never seen so many long coats in the same shop before ...

In the evening, I was invited for dinner to another family's house. I found there 2 of my students. The family is composed of the parents, and 7 children: 6 girls and a boy.
My host explained me they felt like they really needed to try until they got a boy (the last one!) as the girls are getting married and going with a new family, meanwhile men will keep the family land, the name etc...

Their house is located near by the wall... They showed me their neighbour's house, a destroyed one, between theirs and the wall. It has been burnt down because judged as too close to the wall by the Israelis.
We spent the night playing chess, eating (too much as usual here) and speaking about the recent UNESCO decision. The father was very upset with the reply from the Israelis: more settlements, less money.
He just said "We will just continue on living peacefully. I have the hope our children will be smarter and everything will settle down at some point".

D-16 Training in Qattana

We got an important visit today: Khaled, the president of the Palestinian Chess Federation stopped by to say hi, and see how things were going.

I keep on training the 6-7 girls with a stronger level.

They are good in some areas of the game, but their openings are quite terrible, so I am trying to focus on that, as well as tactic exercises.

There is a very talented girl, named Yara. She is 12 years old, and is actually the Palestinian Champion Under 12. She is very good in tactics and finds all the solutions before the others (like the Palestinian Champion Under 16!), I am quite impressed with her. She'll definitely get her medal at the end of the week :)

D-16 Conversation with an old man

As I was stated in a previous post, the grand father in the family I am staying with, is already considered as an old man, with his 60 years old.

Every evening, he likes to come by, to bring me some sweets and practise his English.

- You know, I have 7 daughters and 5 sons.
- And they all live here in Qattana?
- No, there is one in Jordan, and one in Germany.
- Germany?
- Yes, he moved there to study. I want him to come back and get married here.
- Is he coming soon?
- No... The last time he came, I introduced him to a beautiful girl, but he doesn't want her.
- Really?
- Yes, I really don't understand why ! She is young and beautiful ! I know her family, she cooks very well !
- Hmm, he must have taken the European mentality then ;)
- No, no, no ... I am waiting for him, I have another girl to show him.