Some highlights (inspirational, humorous, discouraging and everything in between) from my first day of my Inspiring Capital trip to Nablus:

1) We went to visit the property that TYO’s founder, Hani Masri, has offered to donate for an agriculture project that would grow food for the kids’ lunches and generate revenue to offset the organization’s budget. The land is magnificent (Al Akrabaniya map) and the lemon and olive trees planted presciently by a local TYO supporter a few years ago are on schedule for a full crop this year. And when we raise the money to re-do the house as a high-end retreat (check out that view from terrace below), we’ll really be in business! Exciting potential! And, as my wise colleague Humaira pointed out, a massive amount of work…

2) We went to the bank to remove my name from the TYO account - old business from when I was here full-time. A local supporter (and high-profile, well-connected woman) had called to warn them we were coming and explain the reason for our visit. So we had to do next-to-no explanation in our poor Arabic and their poor English, just got waved to a young clerk. He got out half a dozen forms for me to sign, but before having me sign them, asked, “Do you remember your signature?" Humaira and I couldn’t not giggle at this inexplicable question, but he hardly noticed as he proceeded to pull up the bank’s computer record of my ‘old signature’ for me to check that I remembered how to sign my name. Really?…

3) This evening, Humaira and I went out to a new hot spot (that is a relative term), Sole Cafe, with another colleague, Suhad. Part of the original TYO team from March 2008, Suhad is a pillar of TYO and also a dear friend. We had a typically irreverent, laugh-filled, and eye-opening discussion about the beauty of seeing kids and women from the refugee camp swim for the first time that afternoon. The oddities of restaurant service in Nablus. And our respective culture’s attitudes towards women’s sexuality.

Just another day in the fab Nab - looking forward to more and better tomorrow.

 

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