Goody Two Shoes In The Storm: Part 1
It was raining very hard-a storm, in fact, with real lightening! We had to carry the suitcases because there was so much water on the streets.
Off we went, going a new way to find the Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans office where we were to collect the shop order. There was a big sign saying "this way," so we went.
Maybe we missed the other signs because our umbrellas were pulled down so low and we were busy avoiding the 'rivers' of water flowing down the streets, or due to the slippery steps, or maybe because we were laughing too much at being caught in the storm. Maybe there weren't any signs!
The four of us (two Australians, one German/South African and myself) were soon lost in the back streets of old Bethlehem. Normally this would be an adventure but the weather was stormy and we were wet and cold.
We did not know where we were; we did not know how to get to where we were going; we did not see one person to ask...The streets were deserted, that is, until a door opened and a lady emerged in traditional dress of the Muslim faith. Above the door was a large blue cross painted on the wall. It seemed a bit odd. Delighted at seeing a person, I rushed towards her to ask in poor Arabic, sheltering her under my umbrella whilst I blabbed on excitedly. She couldn't understand of course (my Arabic is poor on a good day), but she returned back into the doorway that she had come from gesturing for us to follow her.
We all followed. "Come in," shouted a voice from another doorway. So we did, dripping as we went. We found ourselves in a sort of cave-like house with many Christian symbols, facing an elderly lady in a hospital bed nodding and smiling almost as if she had been expecting us. Surely at 9:30am it can't be routine to have a bunch of foreigners from multiple continents appearing on the doorstep, lost and soaked?
The voice came from her daughter who sat opposite her. She helped us; she chatted. We shared telephone photographs. We tried to explain what we were doing, where we were all from; we talked about her bedridden mother and the current political situation.
The lady we met on the street was a caregiver and in true Arabic hospitality made us wonderful hot sweet tea. Minutes before, I had been boasting of my new detox diet of no white sugar. I was on my 5th day and was feeling triumphant. The others sniggered as I sipped my tea, a fleeting dilemma if one at all.
The caregiver lady from Hebron was waiting for a call to tell her when her cousin’s funeral was. He had been killed by Israeli army snipers the previous evening as he exited a house he was visiting, she said. He was 21 years old. That morning I had heard on the Israeli news that a 21 year old man had been shot in an attempted terror attack near Hebron. Was this the same man? If so, the stories were very different. They did not add up at all. I sat pondering.
We left the house warm, watered and welcomed. It was the most unusual surprise. We were people of different nationalities and faiths.
The ones with hardly anything had helped the ones that seemed to have everything.
Conclusion: I have NO regrets drinking that tea. I could have easily run back to the car!
Thank you ladies for helping us; AND, as if it needs telling, don't believe all you hear in the news or otherwise.