So much happened today. I'll start chronologically but I will leave much out. We woke up early so that we could stop by the Freedom Theatre in Janin. Its a beautiful place with an amazing story. Janin is where most of the suicide bombers came from and the Theatre works with youth and young adults to offer a creative and critical outlet for their experiences. The people who work there are amazing and the work that they are doing is really transformative. Janin is still in a tough spot and the pressure that its getting from the Israeli miliary becuase of its involvement in Palestinian violence is planting more hatred and trauma into the minds and hearts of young children.
Next we worked our way through the most extensive checkpoint of our journey yet. On our way up to the check point this sign helped us know who was responsible for the 1hour wait, complete vehicle search, scanned baggage and rude military reception: good old US Aid... who apparently was trying to help commerce in the area. Help commerce? You have to be kidding. The sign reads "This Jeleveh vehicle crossing enhancement was funded by the American people through the US Agency for International Development to foster greater trade and economic development of this area."
Once we made it through the check point it was time to head up to Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is beautiful. We got to see many of the religious sites and even take a boat ride. If the boat hadn't raised the American flag and played the American National Anthem in our honor (everyone on board was American) and if the boat hadn't played cheezy praise music by Elvis... the ride would have been perfect. Afterwards we went out to eat and had fish that still had its head on it! Everything was beautiful.
I can really understand why people choose to live here all those years ago. Unfortunately its also been a place great violence. The Golan Heights, which were always in our view, are a main place of conflict with Syria... and water rights surrounding the source of water coming into the Sea of Galilee and the River Jordan in general is causing huge conflict... pollution and mismanagement of these beautiful natural resources may see to their demise. I feel really lucky to see Galilee today and pray and hope that my children may be able to also find peace by these shores.