From Ramallah

When working in the field, it's almost comical all the random things that you find yourself involved in that you take for granted as just part of your normal day in ___ [insert country]. That was one of the main reasons why I originally started this blog, to capture some of my experiences in Sudan and that is one of the main reasons I miss field life.

Well my friend Fatymah, who I met in Sudan but hails from Nigeria, has an incredible way of finding herself in all kinds of crazy situations and so I've asked her to share some of those with you! She is currently on a short-term assignment in Ramallah and this is what happened to her the other day:

My colleague and office gangster grandma, Damascus, a.k.a Maggie and I pulled out of the parking lot in the XX Ramallah office that houses several agencies. There was an elderly woman who was walking on the street so we pulled over and asked her if she needed a ride down the hill. She did. We got into a spirited conversation about Condoleezza Rice and how horrific her comments and reactions about the massacre in Gaza where yesterday. Turns out, the lady is a well-known human rights activist and was thrown out of Jerusalem by the Israelis and now cannot leave the West Bank. Fairly common around here.

We dropped her off on our way and headed to down town Ramallah, the political capital to the occupied Palestinian territories, where I work. We were driving merrily along and before we knew what was happening, we found ourselves in the middle of a huge, several thousand people demonstration condemning what was going on in Gaza. It was very peaceful and comprised of thousands of housewive's in their hijabs crying for their brothers and sisters dying by the bucket load. The banners were extremely creative and deeply emotional. Several TV cameras could be seen. I wish I had my camera. Since the bombs began to fall over Gaza, several demonstrations, peaceful and non-peaceful have taken place in Israel and the West Bank.

My visiting boyfriend and I almost got pelted by huge stones on the 29th of December. An Israeli defense forces truck was driving on the opposite lane and as we were approaching the turn, we saw about around 7 pre-teenage and teenage kids preparing to shower the car with huge stones.
A few meters away, on Kalandia road, the main road into Ramallah, tires where burning and the check point was in complete chaos.

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