Workshop with Paivi Kataikko

Trip Start Oct 02, 2011
Trip End Nov 04, 2011

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Flag of Palestinian Territory  , West Bank,
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hello everyone,

after some rain last night, it was blissfully cool today; no sun for once, lovely!!!

Today was the most exiting day at work so far.

After the last organizing I left at lunchtime to pick up one of our guests from Germany, the architect Paivi Kataikko to accompany her to a workshop with children at Tamer Institute of Community Education in the old town of Ramallah.

A lovely lady, seems decades younger than she must actually be.

And so committed; she usually works with students (see also interview with her on Temporary Cities:, but, as she said herself, as her hobby, she is trying to make children and young people more aware of their surroundings to get them motivated to get involved and change things; I was very impressed by her; great lady, great ideas, great attitude and so down to earth!

Loaded with bags of stuff to make things I picked her up from her hotel and headed to the institute (I had checked out its location last night, most of my audience know how terrible I am with directions....:).

Tamer Institute are located in a lovely old former residential building - the Arabic kind - several houses around a courtyard. It was donated to them from one of the original Ramallah families, none of which live here anymore, they have all emigrated to the US. The institute has established a lovely children's library there; children can come here after school to read or play. They are trying to promote education and reading in particular. Ruba, one of the project coordinators there, told us how, at one time, there were no children's books in Palestine as books import to Palestine was prohibited. That was in the early nineties when they established a publishing unit to produce their own books and so avoid the complete lack and danger of not being able to educate (remember the study I published a few days back "Education denied"). All in all, it seems a good place.

A few girls and a boy then turned up and Paivi started her workshop, which was about being more aware of your surroundings. We, me included, had to draw a picture of what we saw on the way from our house to the institute. Remarkable, if not surprising, was, that it was mostly cars the kids saw (which is the reality). We then had to write a person or animal on a piece of paper, exchange them and then draw the way from that person's or animal's perspective. We then went outside and explained what we/they've seen to each other. There was a lovely young girl interpreting for us, although I was able to at least communicate a little with the kiddies; they were very sweet.

Check out the photos and video! Unfortunately, somehow, the camera was set to a shitty resolution; the pics are all a bit wobbly, what a pitty; but still cute to look at....

All in all, it was a fun three hours, and I think the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.

Paivi did a great job - actually, it's an excellent exercise for all age groups!!!!

and, finally:

****** Breaking News of the Day here in Palestine******

Gilad Shalid, an Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years in the Gaza strip, will be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

The downside not mentioned in most news reports, and as I have also heard reported today at the centre I visited, is that most of these Palestinians won't actually be free. They are either deported to other countries or are not allowed to leave the village or town they live in:

"Over two hundred Palestinian prisoners are to be deported from the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip to several countries; including Turkey, Jordan
and Egypt. Moreover, the deal will include six Palestinian prisoners
from the 1948 Arab areas."
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