Palestinian Jordan Valley – Accompanying Shepherds

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Rachel A. (photos, report) and Members of the Accompanying Shepherds Team , Tal Haran (translation)

Today we accompany Fadel and Muntasar at Hamra. It’s my fourth consecutive time. I can already conclude what will happen. On Thursday the army prepares for inspection and goes home for the weekend. Therefore there are no soldiers and no settlers. And so we sit with the shepherds on the large hilly plane, and this time also graze in the ‘state land’ field rented by a Palestinian, and the sheep eat up all of this dry stuff.

It is still mid-May but the dryness is very dry. The weather is pleasant. Grazing time is relatively short for in this season. We go out early and return early to drink, rest, and go out again in the afternoon.

Tomorrow there will be a drone in the sky that will follow and scare the sheep, and the army will arrive at Fadel’s home and threaten him not to go up to this very field…

Sitting with them during grazing gives time for thought and staring and curiosity.  We talk about their choices in life, the family, the aspiration for the children to get an education, each according to his or her ability. And about the new difficulty that entered their lives as the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out and Ukraine, until then their largest grain supplier, now hiked the prices so steep and they have no subsidies or help from any sources. A cub.m. of barley that cost 1250 NIS before the war, now costs 1850 NIS. This shocks them to the core.  One must be very optimistic to find some solace in life when difficulty arises everywhere.

Fadel and Muntasar are happy with what they have.

I brought them some large bags of clothes for their entire little community.

On our way to visit Khalat Makhoul, we saw a fox raise its head from the drinking pond, look at us and run off to the hills. We also saw a wandering gazelle.

Every sadness has a moment of hope. Thus, every brown patch has a surprising pink lump. Along the road, pink lumps of this kind are scattered and so surprising.