Good evening from Star Street in Bethlehem! This evening the tank on the roof has been filled, and when I turn my faucet on, water comes out. What do you think of that? I’m telling you, it’s pretty dramatic to wake up in a foreign land, turn on the tap and get nothing at all at 7 in the morning! The plumbing lines in the bathroom had enough water in them for me to be able to run the sink there and get enough water to boil a cup for coffee. But while I was teaching this afternoon and evening, the water truck arrived and now I’m feeling rich. My apartment has water, milk, mango juice, grapes, pita bread, swiss cheese, butter, nescafe, peach preserves and green olives. That’ s pretty much the sum of it but what else do we need? The center fed me well for lunch and Bishop Younan’s wife brought me a jelly doughnut for break. I am well cared for!
This morning I walked over to Dar Annadwa to use their water and then on to Nativity Church. This time I was able to pay my respect to “the spot” and then to join some Italian Franciscan priests and congregation for part of Mass. I was able to understand the Gospel, which was the Prologue of John’s Gospel, and when I heard that “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” I got a bit teary. That is the text which is needed here.
It was hot today with a lot of bright sun and I was advised to get a hat. At Dar Annadwa I found a baseball cap with Palestinian embroidery on it so I wore it into the Arab bazaar, which one has to walk through to get to Nativity Church. A number of the Arab merchants want one now so I think the embroiderers at Dar Annadwa may have their hands full.
Teaching went well. The students are just asking me questions as we go along. No one is writing me anonymous notes. We are having a great time. The first class is too big and the language barrier is difficult. But we are doing what we can. Nancy is a great interpreter for us.
Tomorrow I don’t teach, so I will walk through the checkpoint. I will paint in Jerusalem, at Tantur Institute which has many olive trees in terraces, with great landscape views, so I need to get a cab at 9am as far as the checkpoint, and then walk through as the cabs are not permitted to go through. . As I have always just gone by car, this will be a new experience for me, but I expect it to be easy with the American passport and visa stamp.
Peace and all good,
Great to get a sense of what’s doing there! And I don’t think anonymous notes are necessary if there’s a clear sense of being able to ask any question they want. It may well be, even, that anonymity is counterproductive?