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After a very busy term of hard work and excitement, particularly during the
last week or so, the building has turned terribly quiet and rather dismal. It
always feels strangely weird without the deafening voices of the children. We
have just returned from our usual camping holiday on the Sea of Galilee. This
year we stayed in four tents, with six beds in each. This was a new experience
for the majority of our children. The area is so pleasantly peaceful, out of the
No pollution, no sounds of running cars and lorries; all you hear is birds singing in the trees, and the sound of running water coming out of one or two of the seven springs in the village of Tabgha.
The water is fresh, clean, and icy cold. Despite the fact that the children's desire was to stay in the water all day, but we had to limit that, to three or four hours a day, in case they all got sick. The mornings were spent reading, writing and playing games, and in the late afternoons and evenings we went for long walks. On the Sunday morning we were invited by our German hosts to attend mass on the beach; they asked our children to sing, and they sang two songs. "All things bright and beautiful" and "Seek ye first the kingdom of God". And that was greatly appreciated by all those present.
It could be that the highlight of the trip was the short ride on the leisure boat. This year we had to limit the number, to twenty-five persons only. We had nineteen children, and six staff members. We were there from the 21st until the 28th of June. As our expenses are growing, and prices are going up, in addition to the depreciation in currency, it makes us wonder whether we would be able to continue to give our children this wonderful experience in the coming years. The cost for this year was approximately two thousand pounds Sterling. Yet on the other hand, we would reluctantly deny our children such a great experience which they would never get anywhere else.
The children at Tabgha
Running away from the scorching heat into
the cool water
A visit by the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and
NSFVH was very pleased to receive on June 20th , Mr. Dirk Niebel, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, together with three members of the German Parliament, the Head of German Development Cooperation in Ramallah, the Director of KfW Office in Ramallah, representatives of UNDP in Jerusalem and Ramallah, the Governor of Bethlehem and the Mayor of Beit Jala. This was part of the Minister's programme, where he visited two of the largest projects funded by the German Development Bank in the West Bank. Mr. Neibel was denied access to Gaza by the Israelis, where he intended to visit German funded projects there.
The visit to NSFVH left a great impression (as always!!), the Minister then handed over gifts to the school children.
Doris taking the Minister and his group on a tour of the building
A trip to the Biblical Zoo
For the school's annual excursion this year, we decided to take the staff and children to a place where they've never been before. For the past six years, Jericho had been the only accessible place. This year we thought we'd try to get permits to go to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. Three weeks prior to the set date, April 29, we applied for permits and were able to get them for everyone. The children were as excited to go as the teachers were and for good reason.
The place is beautiful, the setting is amazing and the animals are just wonderful. The children had the chance to see all the animals and experience feeding and stroking the domestic ones.
Of course some children were more eager than others, they stroked so hard, they almost pulled the poor animals hair out!!
With the elephants at the Zoo
Library and Braille Book production
The library is very much in use, as it is an extremely important factor of our work. In addition to producing books in English and Arabic Braille, we have also been producing material in German. In the last three months eight new books have been added to our collection, and two hundred and fifty copies have been made.
Thank you friends, and sponsors for your dedication, interest, and support, for without your help none of this could be achieved.
God bless you all.