Ein Sukut, Jordan Valley - Happy Spring Day

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Rachel Afek, Nurit Popper, Tzvia Shpira, Nava Toledano and many more volunteers
יום כיף במים לילדי הרועים בבקעת הירדן במעין עין סכות

The spring of En Sukut, a jewel hidden among reeds in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, is situated about 15 km. from the encampment of Khalat Makhoul, but this community of shepherds and their families never go there because of their hard work and lack of vehicles. In general, the shepherd communities in the Palestinian Jordan Valley don't see much pleasure in their lives. In 40 degrees centigrade heat and without water, their lives surround grazing livestock, miking, selling the products and raising kids. The children run around outdoors without any stimulation, toys, kindergartens or youth centers. For them, a trip to the seashore is a highlight and they begin asking as early as in the winter when and if it will take place. They were hugely disappointed this year as the beach days were canceled, so the visit to the nearby spring was doubly meaningful. For us it was important to come there with Palestinian families in order to set facts on the ground, for during the rest of the year, most of the people bathing in this spring are Israelis, and this spring still remains one of the few that the Jewish settler-colonists have not yet taken over.

It was also important for us to enable women whose lives are especially difficult, cut off from any kind of distraction or fun, respite or pleasure. Thus we took with us only women and children.

In 9 vehicles we took along 7 mothers, 5 young women, and about 20 children. Unfortunately, we also enabled 14-15-year olds to join and they would not listen to our instructions and greatly endangered themselves.

We were excited to see and hear the children screaming with joy, splashing and jumping in the water. One of the girls first clung to us with fear, but gradually let go and dipped in the water. We were glad to hear the chatter and laughter of the women, and take each of them for a round in the water, sensing how her body relaxes and enjoys the experience.

The whole time we were fully observant and watching over the bathers so that none would drown, heaven forbid. We did not feel the 46 degree heat, for we spent hours in the water.

On our way back, after bringing the Al Hadidiya children home, we saw that the settler-colonists had blocked the bypass that Al Hadidiya inhabitants created around the gate that blocks their way to life.