Yesterday we successfully moved to Bethlehem’s House of Peace Hostel.
In the morning we said goodbye to our Egyptian friend Gj as he headed back to Cairo before packing and cleaning out our rooms for the trek across the city. We hopped on a bus and took an 8 minute walk with our luggage up and down hills before arriving at the House of Peace. Today everyone is splitting up to accomplish simple tasks such as arrangements for working at the refugee camp, kitchen shopping runs, park hunting for working out as well as gym hunting and then Me.. well I’m babysitting sicky (josh got the chills last night) and hanging out on our roof porch spending time with Jesus.
I’m getting really excited about this next month because not only are we spending time in the Muslim refugee camp building relationships while working with handicapped kids, the professional basketball team, the women’s center and possibly a kids home we also are spending more time doing friendship evangelism around the city (which I’m most looking forward to).
The place we are now staying is run by Christian Arabs so its really sweet to be in a Christ centered place, also we are the only residents at the moment so I’m excited about that. We have 2 porches, one on the roof and one outside our room. Much nicer beds with a room that doesn’t have mold on the walls. (Yes, I’m getting healthier but not quite all the way there yet) We also have a worship room (they have a youth group and church here that meet regularly), a dinning room and our own kitchen and 3 different bathrooms!
We are hoping this place gives us more rest and peace outside of the hustle and bustle of smokers and loud young travelers that filled the other hostel.
Now, the refugee camp is a group of very strict Muslims who have no Christian workers in the Area. The camp was established in 1948 Just outside of Bethlehem.
Like other West Bank camps, it was established on land by UNRWA. ( United Nations Relief and Works Agency)
The camp covers a small area of 350,000 square meters that has not grown significantly with the refugee population. As such, it faces severe overcrowding problems. The camp is fully linked to municipal electricity and water grids, but the sewage and water networks are poor. So actually a lot of them are not poor financially.. This is because they keep the money they earn without having to pay rent, water or electricity bills. (yes, some even have flat screen TV’s.)
Although, the unemployment rate is high and is affected by the increased inaccessibility of the Israeli labour market.
I’ll update a little later this week on how I’m doing and about my two tourism days this week and getting to see some pretty crazy incredible things.