|The fogg blowing in from the north|
At Balata Refugee Camp, a UNAR refugee camps estblished oafter the displacment of Palestinians in 1948, we visited the Jafa cultural center.
They serve the camp which is 28,000 residents squeezed into 1 square KM. Since Oslo things have been much worse. Before Oslo residents received regular packets of food and clothes, there was better health care and medicine. Now all those tings are in short supply. there is now 1 clinic with 2 doctor serving the whole camp. A worker at the center took his mother to the doctor and time the visit – it was 49 second long – but what can a doctor due when there is a great long line of people waiting to be treated.
There are 2 boys schools and 2 girls schools through 9th grade but class sizes are 45 to 50 students. There is one social worker for 800 students. As a school administrator said the schools are no longer suitable for study, it is all shouting and disruption. It is a bad situation, these4 are families that lost everything, there is no work, the kids are bored. Many of the lightly older generation are highly educated but still have no work which makes it hard to motivate they younger generation to even complete their school
The cultural center offers many programs to try to support the camp:
a separate social worker unit
support for the schools
a scout program has 100 scouts 50 female, 50 males
As we stood on top of the cultural center over looking the camp and school were told that the houses (3 floors or so) had on average 30 -40 people living in them. And looked up at the settlement guard tower we were told that during the intifada they did not use the roof space because several people had been shot stand where we were.
|Looking south from cultural cneter roof over one of Balata Camp school|
|looking east these houses average 30-40 people|
|Looking west toward settlement and hearing that several people were shot right where we were|
|Truck tire treads make good speed bumps|
|a mural on the wall|
|a woodburing representng the old passing on the stories to the young, the old man has his head resting on the land|