Morning Diary: Visiting Ramalla – Palestine | اليوم الاول: زيارتي في رام الله

April 20 2015,

I left Amman on the 19th towards Palestine, what is supposed to be an hour drive. But since I have to cross the border with a Canadian passport and an Arabic name, regardless that it is not mentioned anywhere that I am originally Palestinian, but I seem to carry a well-known Palestinian family name and a Jordanian passport like most Palestinians, it had to take me 6 hours to get there.

Five hours of waiting. interrogated 4 times with the same set of questions, and there you go, half my day was spent at the border staring at the ceiling. Worth it. At least for me. Palestine is worth a wait for days, months, and to many of us, years and generations.

I arrived to Ramalla, starving. So we went to have the best Shwerma in town “Abu Iskandar”. Seriously, it is the size of 3 shwerma sandwiches in Amman. Delicious and rich. The next day, I went to visit Kalandia Refugee Camp and met “Im Nimer” a woman who was thrown out of her own village Sar’a قرية صرعة and is still waiting to go back. She has her house key saved around the house, although her house was demolished years ago. She said to me, “I want to go back, I don’t care where I will stay, I will sit on fabric under a tree for all I care, I just want to feel back home, back to where I belong, back to what was once taken away from me by force, where I met my husband, where I planned my wedding, and I want to just live my last 2 months before I die.”

After this heart breaking story, I went to visit Beirzeit, a Palestinian town very close to Ramalla. Very old, and very authentic. Met another old woman by coincidence as soon as we parked, she looked gorgeous and stylish, I couldn’t resist taking photos of her, and then she expressed so much love to me, I am someone that she doesn’t know, just a Palestinian stranger, but to most Palestinians, you are no longer a stranger if you meet randomly, you are always lucky to meet new faces to welcome and cherish.

I then headed back to Ramalla, had another shwerma from Iskandar, and walked around the old city of Ramalla Tahta and the city center.

The 3 Art Pieces in this photo gallery are by the Palestinian Artist Majd AbdelHamid.

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