Saturday, September 18, 2010

Everyone has been made for some particular work...

...and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.

I'm about to turn 23, and I have the good fortune of knowing what I want to do with my life. I want to help Palestinians realize their dream of statehood. Whether I move to the territories to teach, or work for the United Nations, or join the Foreign Service, or become that kooky American lady who owns a coffee shop in Ramallah, I want to see and be a part of Palestine's transformation into a stable, peaceful, functioning society.

I face a few obstacles, some real, some imagined. The dumbest of all is my fear of offending people who think my cause is inherently hostile. The two most challenging are my government's unquestioning support for the Israeli military and the settler movement, but these I feel pretty powerless to stand up to, mostly because of my fear of offending people.

So right now I'm keeping my momentum going in the following ways:
-I'm reading the Mid East news everyday
-I read newsletters from international peace groups
-I sign petitions and write letters to my reps in Congress
-I'm organizing the New Orleans Free Palestine Walk (October 9th!)

I'm grateful for the opportunity to tie my two favorite places together with the walk, this blog, the guys at the corner store who help me with my Arabic...but there's one thing I really had my heart set on....

I've been planning a trip to Israel and Palestine for the last year. This is for my winter break, which is December 17th-January 2nd. I already have an itinerary and research on getting around, places to go, and contacts I've made in the West Bank. A lot of these contacts are relatives of people I've met in New Orleans. Some of my friends from Jordan have their own itineraries in mind for me, their own friends and relatives and translators. The theme of the trip is building infrastructure through education. What systems are in place, and what is needed to ensure that all Palestinian children have access to a balanced education? I have contacts at schools in Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin, Al-Aqaba, Bethlehem and Beit Sahour. I wanted to document tours and interviews as part of my project to connect New Orleans and Palestine through educational reform. My goal was to document the whole experience and share it with everyone who wants to be a part of it.

Transportation is cheap. Food is cheap. Lodging is cheap and in many cases, provided. But you guessed it, I need to get there.

If you are interested in contributing to the Morgan to the Holy Land fund, please let me know and I will bring you back a can of hummus and a lifetime of love and appreciation. Even $5 or $10 would go a long way. I know I'm making a lot of assumptions, but I would just love to know that people are interested and invested in this venture. Questions, comments and words of encouragement are also very valuable :)

Salaam, Shalom, Peace,