October 5, 2015 – Today we met with Dr. Mira Rizeq, General Secretary of the YWCA of Palestine, at their headquarters in Jerusalem. We learned about their amazing work with women of all faiths, especially the Fabric of Our Lives Project which supports refugee women’s livelihoods, raises awareness on refugee rights, and provides the tools for advocating for the Right of Return or reparations as outlined by international law. Most of us purchased dolls made by women using fabric from their native villages as a way to tell their stories of displacement and hope of return. Later, we were taken to Jericho where we visited a school and a women’s food production project. The food they prepare is delicious! We had lunch with them, and I felt as if my own grand-mother had prepared it. The love poured out in the making of our lunch is once more evidence of the hospitality and welcoming nature of the Palestinian people.
Our last meeting of the day was with Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Center in Jerusalem, an ecumenical grassroots liberation movement among Palestinian Christians. It also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians, which is something that many people in the United States simply overlook. Throughout this pilgrimage, I have been made aware of the richness of diversity in this region and the hospitality, resiliency, and the hope for the future of many Palestinians, even when their basic human rights are denied and taken away. I am saddened by my lack of knowledge on this region up to this point, yet immensely grateful for the opportunity to go back home and tell the stories which have been entrusted to us.