Youth work roles

the Kalandia checkpoint is a soulless, desperate place. A windswept, dusty point of greayness where people say hello and goodbye to each other and, all too often, wait in blistering heat to enter Jerusalem only to be told that they cannot.

In my career as a youth worker I have fulfilled many roles: cook, bottle-washer, confidante, games organiser, social secretary … but today I added two more roles to the list: decoy and passport!

Entry back into Jerusalem, having picked up the kids from the checkpoint is alweays fraught with, not quite danger, but a feeling of tenseness. Will we be allowed through? will the soldiers make it difficult for us? Will they stop us and search the bus?

So I sit at the front with my “I am from Europe” hat and a badge that I made myself on the computer and talk into the microphone on the bus as if I were a tour guide and just hope that the soldiers will take me at face value and let us straight through. Today they did, tomorrow they might not! It is that unpredictable. And so we made it. All of us. Safe and sound from Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah, bet sahour and villages I have never heard off, ready to work, play and learn together – Christians in the land where Christianity was born.

I just hope that tomorrow goes as smoothly.

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