Well just over a week has gone by since I arrived here, and the dust has settled a little. My teaching week has been organised: two 90-minute lessons a week at a Women's Union, four 60-minute lessons with young children in the biggest school in Nablus, two 60-minute lessons with the English Teachers of that school (!), and all day Saturday at another Women's Union in another town outside of Nablus. Only about 15 hours contact time, but with all the travelling and heat, a full-enough week, I think.
I also have two hours Arabic tuition a week (going slowly!), and various other activities with the local volunteers, such as olive picking, visiting sites, getting to know them. As I mentioned these local volunteers are so keen to get to know us, and to share their knowledge with us and practice their English, that it is a pleasure just to hang around in the building of Project Hope and chat with them.
There are two wonderful stone balconies with views over the valley, and it is particularly stunning in the evening, as the sun sets on the hill opposite. Yesterday we were sitting there chatting to 4 Dutch people who had come for a visit, as one of them was a volunteer last year, and then a cake arrived - lots of cake - as it was a local's birthday. Then the jokes started flowing, and I heard my first Palestinian joke! A soldier is looking for three people, who try to hide and find three big bags on the floor. They crawl in. The soldier comes across the bags, and kicks the first one, but all he hears is "meow, meow", so he thinks it's just a cat....he kicks the second bag, to hear "woof, woof", and thinks, it's just a dog. When he kicks the third bag, there is no noise, but something is inside. He kicks again and again. Finally the person inside explodes out of the bag saying "don't you get it? I'm a potato, a potato"....
This was first told in Arabic, with a huge roar of laughter at the end, so I asked them to translate. I think, given the dreadful things that have happened here, they may have developed this sense of humour which is blacker than even the British one. All-in-all, it's going to be an unforgettable experience here.