Forgetting the Pain for a Single Day
In the beginning of July 2018 we held a wonderful fun day in Beit Sahour for the families we assist. To our delight, a huge number of people attended – more than 120 children and about 45 adults. Further, we had a record number of volunteers. This ensured that every child and every family was personally taken care of, in the pool, in the playground, during lunch and during the entertainment.
The goal of the day out is to give the sick children and their families a day of relaxation, and to break them out of their difficult daily routines. The meeting, the refreshments, the pool, a wonderful lunch and the clowns were the obvious and visible elements of the program that indeed gave great joy to our guests. But beneath the surface subtle threads of true friendship between Palestinians and Israelis are woven, and this is the beauty of HWB.
The relationship is far beyond “just a shuttle.” HWB volunteers have become involved in the lives of the families of the children they transport. “S”, whose son died recently, arrived with her newly born daughter. We all crowded around to pamper the baby. Our encounter with the brothers and sisters, the grandmothers and aunts of the children we transport, were smiles, hugs and love.
A new and prominent presence was that of volunteers from a Palestinian organization called Greenland Society, with whom HWB cooperates. Members of this organization help transport the sick children from their homes in the territories to and from the checkpoints. Their coordinator, Ruba, and a few volunteers immediately dived into the activities.
The two clowns, two young Palestinian men, were to me the highlight of the day. This was at least the third time they have come to our annual event. When Larry first approached them, they did not even want to talk to Israelis. This time, they extended the length of their performance, to the absolute enjoyment of the children. Laughing and dancing, they managed to bring real bliss, not just to the kids but to whole families. They really gave their hearts and souls.
At the end of the party, two of our volunteers surprised everyone with fresh cherries and 150 ice cream bars. This day warmed our hearts.