My apologies for no new posts or pictures. I have actually uploaded lots of pictures but for some reason they aren't working. I was looking at some of my friend's blogs here and they are way detailed and I love the way they tell the same stories that I have been through but I just don't write about them so hopefully I can add a few more details about things we are doing.
This week we had a service project for all the students here. We met with a bunch of little boys at a school around the corner and we cleaned up the street for a good couple hours. It started as just picking up trash, but trash here isn't just a few wrappers in the gutter- there is a ton of broken glass, bones...! (gag), burnt plastic, mattresses, scrap wood, long wire cables... etc. We found some pretty crazy things and we filled 4 dumpsters! My back got a little sore from all the bending to pick trash up (do I sound like an old woman or what) so I grabbed some brooms and a dustpan and swept up people's driveways and sidewalks. We were a little nervous when people started driving up to their house and we were just hanging out on their property but they smiled, so hopefully they were ok with it. It seemed like it would be so pointless to sweep up the dirt and glass especially because our hill gets so dirty so quickly, but now when we leave the center we have a new sense of pride. Whenever we see trash anywhere near the center we all pick it up now. And the best part of all, the little kids around the neighborhood are our friends. Muslims exchange presents for the Al-Fitr feast at the end of Ramadan and I am pretty sure that every boy on our street got a toy gun. The first time we left the center after Al-Fitr, my friend Sarah saw a little boy pointing his gun at us and Sarah came running up to me all scared saying, "Becca, he has got a gun, oh my gosh he is pointing it at us." By the end of the day that incident was just 1 of 10 different times that a little boys pretended to shoot us... always fun right. But now when we have totally bonded with those little boys. After our service project we ate our sack lunches with them out on the grass and we started a little water fight and they played how-mad-can-we-get-people-by-throwing-rotten-olives-at-them game. Super fun game, it is totally recommended. So now we are super tight with the boys- even though I don't know their names so well, there were many Muhamads, one Asba, and I am sure there was an Omar in the group. Now we can wave instead of take cover when we walk down the street.
Today has been great. We had the elder's quorom president speak at the forum. He works at the consulate here in Jerusalem as the religious affairs representative. He told us some awesome stories about the holy sites here and how business is conducted between all the different Christian organizations. He got to be here in January when Pres Bush and Condoleeza Rice came, so he organized their trips to various churches in the city, pretty cool stuff that he gets to plan out the details of their trips.
Tomorrow we are headed to the ancient City of David and the underwater Hezekiah's tunnel. Hopefully my "Bro. Dennis" head-lamp will work alright for the tunnel tomorrow!