Khalet Makhul: The valley begins to turn green

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Shahar Shiloah (photographer), Ariel Freedman (reporter and photographer)

Shahar and I arrived at 7:45 at Burhan’s. It was a dry, hot day, but we could see from the beginning of our descent into the valley that the landscape was starting to green. The difference was dramatic from my previous visit 12 days earlier, and rain was expected later that week. Still, as we walked up into the hills, Burhan and his brother, Ashraf, pointed down to the firing range and to the hills beyond, inside the ‘domain’ of Israeli settlers and army, noting where the grass was – quite literally – greener. Upon our return, I found myself picking up where I had left off the week before in playing games and making mischief with Burhan’s youngest. We fed the herd, and I could see the speed at which these covered hills of very expensive feed had already been reduced to much less impressive piles. Abu Halaf looked on, teased, and absorbed the playful abuse of the little girl. We all sat outdoors to enjoy breakfast and easy conversation, then Shahar and I made brief visits to each of the families in the community before getting on the road.