My name is Cathryn, I am a Quaker and I would like to share with you the exciting call to serve in Palestine that I have been lead to follow. I have very clear memories of the Camp David Accords with President Carter. It was during Camp David that I experienced the first "pull" toward Israel / Palestine. Then like many American teenagers I read Exodus by Leon Uris and was convinced of the nobility of the Sabra and of Israel. It was not until I was well into adulthood that I have come to understand the full context of that time in the Middle East, as well as the consequences for all of us today.
Over the years I felt that ?pull' over and over again. Whenever the conflict returned to the front pages, I felt the need to be there. Each time I told myself that I was being foolish to think I had something to offer. A series of seemingly unrelated events, however, moved me to understand that this was a call I had to answer. I found that once I listened, the way opened.
I traveled to the West Bank for the first time during the fall of 2007 with Interfaith Peace Builders. The education I received during this trip laid the foundation for my desire to become more involved. The following fall of 2008, brought me the opportunity to return to the Bethlehem District. I participated in the olive harvest; witnessed the effects of the occupation; and met many Palestinians and Israelis working for peace. I continued to return each fall after that until life events moved me to make a longer term commitment.
The fall of 2011 saw me moving to the region as staff with a small non-governmental organization. I have continued living and working here since that time. While my roles have changed and the challenges have been many, it has been an amazingly rewarding experience. Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit of that journey with you.
I am eager to share the stories of the people I met and the insights I developed while here. You can read my journal from the 2008 harvest here and my thoughts during the 2010 harvest, as well as a bit of the randomness of my somewhat unusual life, are included on the Reflections page.