Somewhere in with all the sand and dry heat of the desert there are little villages with farms carved into mountains and olive trees as far as the eye can see. There are houses filled with families who are more than happy to welcome you into their home and give you one of the best meals you have ever tasted (and my dad is a really good cook). These places are beautiful and peaceful, the people go about their daily lives like any other; this is where you find the hospitality everyone raves about in the Middle East.
These are also the places where families have soldiers coming into their homes in the middle of the night. Where they may only be on their own land (which has been in their family for generations) for two days a year and where they have to deal with a lot of hate and violence for just simply living there.
The pictures you will see, reflect the beauty and peace in this place and show the adventures I was fortunate enough to have.
In Husan, I waded through questionable water (it was an interesting shade of green with one or two shoes floating in it) to a small cave, where I then got down on my hands and knees (still in the water) and crawled through, hoping that there were no creatures to bite me and no spiders on the ceiling of the cave. The result: a hidden waterfall in a cavern that had I not just pushed myself to crawl through, I never would have seen. I know that this is something that only a few people have ever seen and that makes the experience so amazing.
In Qusra, we stayed with the Mayor and his wonderful family. They provided us with sleeping accommodations and delicious meals that I have tried to recreate at home (they are just not the same). We helped harvest wheat and played soccer (football) and other outdoor games with children at a day camp. Those children were so precious and many of the girls just wanted to walk with you and hold your hand. We did not speak the same language but the language of football is pretty much the same everywhere. By the way Barcelona is very popular in the West Bank.
These were two of the highlights from my trip, I had such an incredible experience in each town and I love that I had the opportunity to visit these places where normal tourists do not get to go.
I also spoke about my trip to Husan on a travel blog called The Blonde Banana! You can read my about my trip here.
Have you ever been to these places? What are some "off the beaten path" places you have been?
Labels: Adventure, Husan, Israel, Middle East, Operation Groundswell, Palestine, Qusra, Travel, Volunteer