QUARANTINE - DAY 47 - 21st April 2020
Today, day 47 of quarantine, on the first hot day of the year in Bethlehem, we have launched our first virtual coffee morning/cookery class with friends from Palestine, UK, Australia and France. It was lovely that so many of you were able to join us and watch, as it was streamed live on the Alrowwad Facebook page. Manal Odeh talked us through making Palestinian bread live. Thank you for sharing your photos of the bread you made with us today. I have included some at the bottom of this email. Next Tuesday at the same time we will learn how to make hummus. Ramadan will have started by then - it has been announced that Ramadan will start this Friday.
An assistant director at a bank in Bethlehem shares his thoughts:
When they first announced quarantine in Bethlehem I stopped work - all banks closed with immediate effect with the announcement - and I stayed at home for two weeks until the government deemed it safe to reopen them again. We have returned to work in the bank, but on emergency hours from 9am to 2pm for our safety, and only essential employees are back. We have security at the doors and there is a policy of one in and one out. Only two or three people are allowed in the bank at one time and we wear masks and gloves for the protection for everyone.
I have worked every day from Sunday to Thursday for twenty-five years without a break, so my daily routine became very different when the quarantine was announced. I love to be busy, so had to find things to do around the house and garden to keep myself busy. I I love spending time outside. I suddenly had time to do all the things I had been wanting to do - as well as clearing the garden and planting trees, I was able to build some walls around the garden, and make chairs and other things around the house.
It is a worrying time for people in Bethlehem, as it is for many people in the world. People here in Bethlehem haven't worked for 47 days. Many have no money now. In the bank we are trying to help as many people as possible. I spend most of my working hours speaking to people on the phone, trying to answer their questions and help them. It is good to be back at work - to be busy - but I worry about how people in Bethlehem will be if the quarantine continues for many more weeks...
Photo courtesy of Mohamed Abu Haniyeh