Shokran … Afwan

5 Oct

photo credit: Mark Bowen/HOPE

A lot of Arabic was heard in our classrooms and hallways today at St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. “Marhaba (hello) … Shokran (thank you) … Afwan (you’re welcome),” were coming from all our K-8 students, punctuated with grins and hugs.

Our visitors were teachers from Catholic schools in Beit Jala and Nablus in the West Bank. Guided through our school by our principal, the Christian teachers glided into rooms of children, as if they were walking in on groups of their own students back home in Palestine.

The children were all eyes and ears, as they learned that, yes, in the Catholic schools in the Holy Land, children wear uniforms and play soccer, that they go to school on Saturday, but not on Friday and Sunday, and that many of their classmates are Muslims.

After being asked by Miss Abeer and Miss Ruya whether they knew the Bible story about the Good Samaritan, and about Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and giving her a drink, the children seemed amused that people in Nablus still drink from the same Jacob’s well and that there are six Samaritan children in the Catholic school.   

The children were impressed when Miss Eman and Mr. Waseim told them that Beit Jala was right next to Bethlehem, and that they lived where Jesus was born. But they did not like hearing that the students in Beit Jala could not go on field trips because of a high wall that has been built around their town to keep them in. They were puzzled when they heard that, if the first Christmas took place today, Mary and Joseph wouldn’t be able to get into Bethlehem because 0f that high wall.

photo credit: Mark Bowen/HOPE

2 Responses to “Shokran … Afwan”

  1. catsandnewspapers October 6, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Shokran …

  2. Chris Nunner October 6, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    This is such a great article about the Holy Land teachers and SASEAS students. Would you consider using this, or some adaptation, for the newsletter?

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