Rebuilding Alliance

Rebuilding Alliance is dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and bringing the world together to make them safe. Our vision is a just and enduring peace in Israel and Palestine with equal value, opportunity, and security for all.
Sep 26, 2011

Report from Kali Rubaii. Our first teacher!

Kali poses with her pupils in class
Kali poses with her pupils in class

Hi everyone,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you again for helping to support Teaching in a Village Under
Demolition Orders
through your generous donations and concern!  I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that everyone in Al Aqaba really appreciated our first English teacher, Kali Rubaii; see Kali's report below with photos. Kali taught children, two groups of teens, and an adult group -- and her classes kept growing as her reputation spread!   Even a group of bank tellers in the neighboring town of Tubas asked to attend English classes in Al Aqaba!   Our second English teacher, Morgan Bach, just arrived in Al Aqaba last Thursday.  

We wondered if Morgan would be able to arrive because early that morning, the Israeli Army closed Al Aqaba Village and demolished the home of three families, the Peace Road, a water cistern and one other road.  This was the 2nd demolition of the Peace Road.  We heard about it early and did our best to call the U.S. Embassy and Consulate, and the consulates of other countries, to ask their help to make this stop.  Our board member, Souzan Jaber, was there waiting outside the village with the Governor of Tubas who was also barred from entry.  When the soldiers  left the village, the destruction along the Eastern side of town was clear to see.  Heartbreaking.

Despite this, Kali's report describes the sense of hope that people of Al Aqaba, especially the young people, hold in their hearts.  I know you share that determination.

Sincerely,

Rudy San Miguel

___________________

Teaching English in Al Aqaba:  Summer 2011
Report by Kali Rubaii
, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz

This summer I taught English courses in Al Aqaba.  I taught about 60 students: 20 girls ages 9-12, 20 young boys ages 14-16, and 20 adults (mostly University students and local farmers and shepherds) ages 18-50. 

For the younger students, we covered many topics, often using songs and dances to understand colors and numbers (The Very Hungry Caterpillar was perfect for this), or the parts of the human body (Head Shoulders Knees and Toes and Simona Says were big hits!).  Eventually each student practiced leading the rest of the class in song.  My favorite lesson for the children's classes was a week-long drawing exercise in which they drew their house or dream house and then labeled the parts of their drawing.  Each student presented their house and some information about themselves to the whole class to practice public speaking.  I was impressed by their vivid descriptions of beautifully designed homes, complete with flower vases, colorful roofs, and tree-filled yards. 

During the first lesson of the adult class, I asked students to tell me about their childhoods and was confronted with an urgent question from a young man in the back of the room, who later described himself as a poet: "I can tell you about my childhood, but what are your hopes and dreams, Miss?"  I quickly learned that while one's childhood is certainly of importance, Al Aqaba's youth are more preoccupied with shaping their futures and realizing their dreams.  After mastering the basics of the past preterit, imperfect, and past progressives tenses, we eagerly jumped into the future, subjunctive, and conditional tenses.  We worked on detailed letters to American penpals at UCSC in California that describe the conditions of living under occupation as well as the hopes and dreams of each young man in the class.  We drafted high quality English resumes in anticipation of those futures, delved into topics of refugeeness, longing, and land ownership, recited a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, and were lucky to have 2 American guests visit for a day of intensive conversational English practice. 

I had so much fun teaching English and learning Arabic from these intelligent, motivated young people.  My biggest challenge with the students was the fact that as the summer progressed, my classes kept getting bigger and bigger, and it seemed I never had enough copies of handouts! 

We faced other challenges, as well, however: our conversations in class were often interrupted by the deafening sound of jets flying overhead the Israeli military training camp next door.  My very first day in the village, an Israeli administrator arrived to photograph the newly re-paved road that had been demolished in May (the village mayor, Haj Sami, was visibly anxious about the potential for a second demolition).  I was aware that at any moment the school, under demolition order like most of the buildings in the village, might be bulldozed: this reality naturally generated a sense of anxiety about the future.  I was impressed by how defiantly students did not allow this to interfere with their English learning, their sense of humor, or their insistence on mastering the future tense both linguistically and in their lives. 

Inshalla, I will be back next summer to teach English and continue my fieldwork as an Anthropologist in Al Aqaba. 

Kali Rubaii

Kali
Kali's and her students working hard!
Children in class
Children in class
Student presents project to class
Student presents project to class
Teacher proudly displays student work!
Teacher proudly displays student work!
Students taking a break to say hi
Students taking a break to say hi
Where
Where's Kali? She poses with her pupils outside!
Aug 30, 2011

Restatement of Budget and Funding Goals

Hello everyone,

I am pleased to tell you that we are really close to completing our fundraising for the Birthing Center project!

When we learned that it would not be possible to send a refurbished ambulance to Al Aqaba (Israel does not allow used vehicles in), we contacted Assist International to restate the budget. That led to considerable discussion regarding the Rotary International matching grant that is a sister grant to our Global Giving initiative. The good news is that your donation via Global Giving.org will pay for the training and diplomacy side of this project, and will cost a total of $14,820".   As of this writing, we are $3,013 away from our goal! The Rotary International side will pay for the ultrasound, incubators and fetal monitoring part of the project.

We look forward to moving this all forward in a few months time, as soon as the Rotary International grant is approved.

 
Sincerely,
Donna Baranski-Walker
Founder and Executive Director
Rebuilding Alliance

Dear Donor,

I am forwarding a status update from Donna, our director, who is currently in Ramallah, Palestine.   She just spent some 15 days in Al Aqaba!

Sincerely,

Rudolfo San Miguel

Social Media Coordinator

Rebuilding Alliance

 

Dear Project Donors,

I am pleased to tell you that we are really close to completing our fundraising for the Birthing Center project!

When we learned that it would not be possible to send a refurbished ambulance to Al Aqaba (Israel does not allow used vehicles in), we contacted Assist International to restate the budget. That led to considerable discussion regarding the Rotary International matching grant that is a sister grant to our Global Giving initiative. The good news is that your donation via Global Giving.org will pay for the training and diplomacy side of this project, and will cost a total of $14,820".   As of this writing, we are __________ away from our goal! The Rotary International side will pay for the ultrasound, incubators and fetal monitoring part of the project.

We look forward to moving this all forward in a few months time, as soon as the Rotary International grant is approved.

Sincerely,

Donna Baranski-Walker

Founder and Executive Director

Rebuilding Alliance
Next steps"

[11:58:20 AM] Donna Baranski-Walker: :

[11:58:46 AM] Donna Baranski-Walker: 1)   Post the new budget to the birthing center project as  a new attachment

[11:59:14 AM] Donna Baranski-Walker: 2)  Notify Alexis  to tell her to change the total requested amount -- or can you do this yourself?

[12:00:44 PM] Donna Baranski-Walker: 3)  Post the status report.... please add "The good news is that your donation via Global Giving.org will pay for the training and diplomacy side of this project, and will cost a total of $14,820".   As of this writing we are __________ away from our goal!


Attachments:
Aug 29, 2011

The Final Video

Hey everyone

I am proud to bring you the final video in Maurice Jacobson’s Video series documenting Rebuilding Alliance’s Design Charette! This will conclude the video series and this project.

Click here to view the video!

Now, the Rebuilding Alliance will move to the next phase—putting into action what was started during the Design Charette. Click on the following links below for details about next projects:

Homes with Dignity: Downpayment for Right to Exist

Rebuilding Alliance Revolving Mortgage Loan Fund

Rebuilding Alliance Crowdsource Mapping & Advocacy

Thank you all for helping funding this project. Without your support, projects like these could never happen.

 

Best wishes
Rudolfo San Miguel
Social Media Coordinator
Rebuilding Alliance

 

 

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