Jamma'in is located about 6 km to the southwest of us. The stone quarry/cutting industry is a major source of employment and income for the village followed closely by agriculture – mainly olives. MPT accompanied a Jamma'in family on four occasions. They treated us very well – picking us up, feeding us two meals per day, and driving us home each evening.
Leaving home about 7:00 AM we started each day with a 30 minute tractor & trailer ride over a rough rocky road. We dropped down hill to the south from the village and crossed the major road toward the very large settlement of Ariel. The area between the road and Ariel is a huge olive grove. We picked at the high eastern edge of this grove finding ourselves uncomfortable near an outpost just off the western edge of the settlement of Kafr Tappuah. The family reported to us that last year a settler showed up one day with two threatening dogs. The following day internationals accompanied the family. About ten settlers arrived with guns. The internationals called the military who arrived and sent the settlers away. Understandably this family felt a strong need for international accompaniment.
We are pleased to report that the only disturbance to this year’s picking routine was the appearance of a wild boar. The men threw rocks and chased it off before either MPTers got a confirming glimpse or photo.
It takes this family about 10 days to complete their work. It is difficult to leave such a situation before completion but other needs called us away. We were happy to be able to assist in getting other internationals to join this family for most of their days. Much of the olive harvest work is just like this. Days are long and hard, friendships grow, stories are told, and goodbyes are filled with conflicting emotions.
........ We were fed in two different homes; one at a table with the father only dining with us; the other seated on the floor with the whole family present. The family included the nicest, cutest kids. They came and went so quickly we were never able to determine how many there were.