This week the children took a field trip that was both educational and very fun. Wi’am staff and volunteers arranged a visit to the historic village of Taybeh and the amusement park in Ramallah.
The road to Taybeh is scenic but quite long since the bus must by-pass Jerusalem on winding roads through the hills. The young people made the best of the long trip by singing along to music. Some clapped while others beat enthusiastically on a small drum. It is beautiful to see the kids able to relax and show their personalities, being social together and with the volunteers. They came from all age groups, from babies chaperoned by their mothers to teenagers who helped watch the smaller children. It felt like a large (and very loud!) family.
When they arrived in Taybeh, they were welcomed by a sister from the Roman Catholic church. She took them into the sanctuary and explained a little about the church, the building, and its artwork. Jesus and Mary featured prominently but there were also representations of St. Khader (St. George) slaying a dragon. Next, they visited the remains of a crusader chapel on the top of the hill. The children had a grand time exploring the roofless rooms and climbing up the walls to get a better view of the farmland around Taybeh. After that, they visited a nice home for the elderly on the edge Taybeh.
Of course, most visitors to Palestine know Taybeh by its excellent brand of beer. The children and chaperones also visited the Taybeh brewery and learned more about how Taybeh beer grew to be Palestine’s prominent beer and what goes into making a bottle of Taybeh. The brewery staff were on-hand to dispense some delicious, non-alcoholic beer to the children, as well. With a morning of key visits behind them, the children climbed back into the bus and said goodbye to Taybeh. The next stop was in Ramallah at the fun park!
This was obviously the highlight of the day in the eyes of the children. Once they were inside the gates and had free range of the facilities, they were virtually in heaven until they left at 6 PM. Many bought wristbands so that they could ride the carnival rides as many times as they liked. The rides were a welcomed source of both thrills and laughs throughout the day and the volunteers had a marvelous time watching the youth, taking pictures. Mothers took their smaller children to shaded picnic tables and finally unloaded lunch from their coolers.
Some were lucky enough to take a dip in the fun park’s swimming pool, many of them never seemed to leave the water. The day was so hot, few could resist buying fruit drinks and sodas from the concession stands. Meanwhile, some retreated to the inside of a “4-D” theater for an exciting show with not only 3-dimensional glasses but with seats that moved (and vibrated) and other simulation effects that made the movie feel like a fancy theme-park ride, taking everyone to another time and place for a few minutes. Yet, the fun park in Ramallah was indeed a great place to be this week. By the time the bus loaded for home, the energy levels of the kids were down to a more manageable level, but still strong. The young people filled the return trip with more singing and drumming.
The Wi’am staff are thankful for all our partners during these important, but very fun, field-trips. Children should stay close to their heritage and appreciate what makes Palestine a great place to grow-up. At the same time, they should never grow-out of enjoying life with a smile upon their faces.