You have to look VERY closely at this picture to be able to pick anything out, but this so resembles my life as of now. This is the view from my window, looking down to the lot below. On the very left is the TV and crowded all around it are little heads of Sudanese men, watching. It is actually a Sudanese bar, and anytime there is a futbol (soccer) game on, they all gather and watch it. Its soooo African style: old couches, chairs, and tables, and junk all around, but no one caring at all. They blast the TV, and if I stand at the window I can see/hear play by play. Its comical is what it is. I apologize for the quality of the picture, but its a last minute IPhone pic. (and its very dark) hehehehe.
Tag Archives: Sudanese
I am super excited about an excursion I am putting together for this Friday, 11.12.09. It’s actually a world-wide outreach happening on 12.12, but since 12.12 is Shabbat here, I need to do it one day early.
Help-Portrait is a way to give back to the community via photo’s. To make a long explanation short, photographers will be offering their services free of charge to those in need. We will be creating portraits as keepsakes for families who might not be able to afford professional pictures at all.
How am I getting involved???? I have decided to put together Help-Portrait Tel Aviv for the Sudanese/Eritrean Refugees who I work with. Most of them have NO pictures what-so-ever of themselves and their families… and this is an excellent opportunity to give them this gift for the holidays. I have been recruiting like crazy: volunteers to help out on Friday to come and give of their time and services. We will also be providing gifts for the children, cookies, coffee, tea etc. A time to let them know that we love them and value them.
How can you help???? I need your prayers on Friday!!! I have literally put this thing together in less than a week, and its starting to crunch down on me. The weather is calling for rain, and that will just complicate it even more. I want this to be a blessing to them, but also not a burden to us.
Take a look... Here is the promo video from Help-Portrait, giving a background on how this all started:
A few other links you might want to check out:
Can’t wait to see some smiling faces!
If you haven’t heard yet, I’ve started learning Arabic this past week. I am now able to write all the letters (all millions of them) and we are starting to form words and sentences now. I honestly thought Hebrew was difficult, but it seems to be a piece of cake compared to this crazy language. The beauty of it though, is that they have many similarities, and knowing Hebrew first has helped me tremendously.
Anyways, today at Food Distribution, our little translator came to help out so I was showing her my Arabic workbook and what I was learning. It was then that I discovered she does not know how to read or write in Arabic, only Hebrew.
Arabic is her mother tongue… her first language…. the one she speaks with her family; YET, she does not know how to read or write. She reads/writes only Hebrew. And this is true for many of the Sudanese we work with.
It made me think.
Therefore, I decided that a part of the after school program at the youth center will be dedicated to teach these kids how to read and write their own language.
Imagine a foreign American… teaching written Arabic to kids who speak it fluently… in a country that none of us belong to… in Hebrew.
Now if that isn’t just crazy awesome, then I don’t know what is!!!
I’m getting anxious with my youth center plans, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. Though its not official, and most people here don’t have a clue of what I’m about to embark upon, I think the feeling of something new must be brewing in the air.
Lately at the Food Distribution more and more kids have been coming, not just to pick up food for their moms, but to stay and chat (and sometimes help out!). Last night we were graced with the presence of our two little “translators”, a term and position they have appointed themselves. Since most of the mothers only speak Arabic, and I only speak Hebrew, they like to be the ones to communicate all the in’s and out’s of the procedures. It’s very cute, actually.
They sooooo need this youth center, to have a place to go. I’m getting excited about the vision I have, and this week I will be looking at some potential buildings for the site. In the meantime you can see my adorable, little helpers for yourselves. These girls are two reasons why I am passionate about future plans…..
Today was a serious TII moment during our Food Distribution. This week we are giving diapers instead of food (I still am undecided as to which is more important to them). We were supposed to get the delivery yesterday, but alas…it never came. Today the delivery-guy said, “For sure I am coming…2:00.”
2:00 is good; it gives us time to sort through the different sizes, organize them into groups, and package them up for when the women come.
That was the plan.
But this is Israel! 2:30 comes and goes, but he has not arrived. 3:00, still no diapers. The women begin showing up and we tell them he should be coming any minute. 3:30, the natives are getting restless and so are we. We decided to start making food packets and give them out instead, since it doesn’t look like he’s coming again.
4:15/ish, He shows up. In the middle of the distribution, with women all around, food bags being made and distributed, and he shows up. Ish! (As we say in Hebrew, Balagan!!!)
So, we ATTEMPT to sort them as best as we can and begin giving them out. It was a huge mess… diapers everywhere, women wanting food + diapers, me trying to remain calm and record their numbers at the same time, and sweating profusely from the heat and small quarters.
Finally at 6:00 we were able to stop for the day. I was exhausted (to say the least), dirty, thirsty, and… delirious from all the diapers!!
I have been writing about my work with the Sudanese Refugees, and the problems they have been encountering with the government. (I also mentioned it in last month’s newsletter as a prayer request.) Their status in TA has been big news the past few weeks here as well, even making it to the front page of The Jerusalem Post.
A couple days before the Aug. 1st deadline of deporting them out of TA, the Israeli government made a statement, postponing the deportation until a further date. There had been an outcry among the people here on their behalf, especially regarding the children who were born in Israel, therefore becoming Israeli citizens. I was actually surprised to see such an outpouring of support for the Sudanese, when there has been such mumbling about them even being here.
That being said, this was only a temporary decision, and the future of the Sudanese in TA is yet to be seen; but, I know for all the families we work with, they are extremely relieved and happy. They can once again walk the streets without fear of being picked up and imprisoned or sent to another city (for now).
Today I was humbled.
There is a young Sudanese girl, 10/11 yrs. old who comes each week for Food Distribution for her mother. She is the cutest thing and since she is in school here, her Hebrew is super good. Today she brought her brother with her and I asked her (in Hebrew), “Is this your brother?” and she said, “yes“. So, I said to him “Shalom!” And he said “Shalom” back. Then he turns to his sister and asks her (in Hebrew), “does she know Hebrew?” (referring to me) And the girl replied back, “Yes. Just not good Hebrew.”
There really isn’t a response to that, so I looked at her, smiled, and said “Toda raba!!!” (thanks so much). She just smiled back. Oh, the joy of honesty from a child!!!
Imagine growing up in a country full of war and distress.
Imagine leaving your country in hopes of a life for you and your children.
Imagine traveling almost 2,000 miles across deserts, borders, trials, and dangers surrounding you in order for that life.
Imagine finally reaching your destination, only to be put in jail in order to receive asylum.
Imagine knowing you can not return to your home country, for if you do you will be killed because of where you were.
For over 5,000 Sudanese living in the country of Israel now, who have endured more tribulation in a year of travel than most of us will ever experience in our lifetime, they do not have to imagine it….they lived it! Crossing illegally by means of desert from Egypt into Israel, these men and women have been shot at, lost family members on the way, been imprisoned, and now live in extreme poverty only to escape the perils of their own home country.
Please join me as I begin to work alongside the Sudanese in Tel Aviv to bring a little light into their darkness. Food distribution has already begun, and there are over 300 families coming to receive a weekly stipend. I will also be starting a program for the children in the coming months….
Imagine living in a foreign country, and encountering HIM, the one who can change your life. Together we can make a difference.
Last night I attended the Sudanese congregation’s service. Because I am looking at working with them in a few areas, I wanted to go check it out and experience their world.
I felt like I was back in Africa. It was almost like I wasn’t in Israel anymore.
The singing, the preaching, the children, the babies…..it all came swooping back to me like a gush of wind.
The one thing that surprised me though, was the seating arrangements. Because Sudan in a Muslim country, they all speak Arabic of coarse, but they still hold fast to the women sitting on one side and the men on the other. There is still that separation of the sexes that I never imagined would be present in their congregation.
Needless to say, I was once again the only whitey there. It seems to be a pattern with me. How do I always manage to be the fish on dry land everywhere I go?????