We moved south and had to learn where to move in and out between what was Israel and what was the West Bank (under Palestinian control). We stayed in Bethlehem where Christ was born, which is now right next to Jerusalem and is now a very large city where all the Palestinians live. We stayed there for three days in a hotel and met up with Ramí, the head of our tour agency, who told us about his work with the poor Palestinian youth. His work involves reaching out to youth with programs in their “Connect Cafe” with the goal of increasing youth self-efficacy and self-esteem even in the context of their life controlled by walls and little aspiration for the future.
We were introduced to the reality of the lives of Palestinian youth who outwardly see no future for themselves. The Palestinians in the West Bank appear to have few opportunities and are struggling to live a basic life. All of us tried to increase the amount of any tips we were giving to people who drove taxies or helped us with our luggage. We were impressed with the complexity of the problem and geographical situations but so glad we were exposed to all of it.