Daoud Nassar Sermon at Riverside Church/ New York
Tent of Nations
People Building Bridges
Spring 2013 Newsletter
Dear Friends, 10.May1013
It has been a while since you received our last update about the Tent of Nations and our struggle to keep the farm from the danger of confiscation. We would like to share with you the latest news from the Tent of Nations, the situation on the ground, our concerns, but also our hope and how the project is moving forward. We thank you all for your prayers, support and solidarity.
The political situation is getting more difficult; settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are on a daily expansion. Every day more Land is being confiscated for new settlements, or expanding the existing ones. Land is being taken for security purposes, for settler’s roads and, of course, for the wall. It is still a long way for us through this very dark tunnel but this tunnel has for sure an end.
In December 2012, the high court rejected our appeal for a building permit for the 13 demolishing orders for our structures. They said that we have to apply again according to the new rules. Before applying the land must be surveyed again. Our Lawyer did the paper work and we started a new process in the Israeli courts to protect our structures. It is a frustrated situation for us but we still believe in justice and one day justice will prevail.
With your prayers and support we are able to keep this hope alive and are able also to overcome our obstacles. We will keep you updated regarding any urgent development and if needed, we will ask you to take actions. Please be prepared for that.
During the winter months, we managed to collect water in our cisterns to be used in the dry summer. We managed also to plant 1253 olive and other trees. With this investment in agriculture, our aim is to make the farm self-sufficient. Now there are thousands of trees growing on the farm. We are continuing cultivating land towards the valley, planting it with more trees and making it green.
In the summer months, we are all busy in watering the hundreds of trees that were planted in the winter months. This is a big challenge for us, we have no access to running water but we are watering the trees from the rain water collected in our cisterns during the rainy season. Still not enough but we are trying to manage.
Special thanks for all people who sponsored trees, for all who planted those trees. Thank you so much for this support and solidarity.
We are always trying to develop a better infrastructure for our animals. Our goal is to develop an animal farm with better infrastructure to increase the productivity and also to use it for education during the visits of children and young people to the Tent of Nations.
As mentioned above, we must look ahead and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Our vision is to become self-sufficient as soon as possible, especially regarding energy, water and grey water. We have recently made some important new steps towards achieving this vision.
With the solar power system that produces 4.5 KW of electricity, we managed to solve many problems. The plan for this year is to add more panels and two small wind turbines in order to make the Tent of Nations totally independent in term of energy.
In our region, water is a big concern and always limited. As you know, we are not allowed to have access to running water, but we are trying to solve this problem with collecting rain water. We are trying year by year to increase our rain water collection capacity in order to become self-sufficient in terms of water and to be able to develop agriculture and also to run our activities and programs on the farm.
We already installed a filtration system to filter the rain water and we are using it now also for drinking.
Recycling Grey and Sewage water:
We built 4 new showers for our guests and volunteers. The shower water is being collected and reused again for watering the new planted trees.
We already started to recycle the sewage water. We are hoping by this summer to use the recycled water for irrigation. Special thanks for all who helped in supporting this project financially.
We are hoping by the end of this year to develop a way to get a bio Gas from the human and animal manure. This Gas will be used for cooking and will save us from buying an expensive cooking gaz.
Bent Al Reef Women’s Project
The Bent Al Reef Women’s Week took place from the 11th until the 16th of March. This year the theme was “recycling.” We wanted by that to raise more awareness about environmental issues as well as to encourage those women to play a positive role towards their country and the environment. If you are interested in supporting this women project, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The English, computer and agricultural training as well as some art workshops will continue until the beginning of June and we will start again beginning of September.
Guest Groups and Volunteers
Right now there are currently 3 long-term volunteers from Germany staying at the Tent of Nations. More others are for short period of time between one week and 3 months are coming in the next days. It is great to see the demand for volunteering at the Tent of Nations is increasing. Volunteers can apply through our website by filling out a form. The work the volunteers are doing and their presence at the Tent of Nations are highly appreciated. Special thanks for all volunteers for their efforts and their support for the project.
Since January to April 2013 we had 1592 visitors who came to visit the Tent of Nations from different countries. It is wonderful to see how the idea of Tent of Nations by refusing to be an enemy is reaching out to many people.
Finally, we would like to thank you for all your prayers, for your continuous support and for your solidarity.
Blessings and Salaam,
Tent of Nations – People Building Bridges-
Children Summer Camp
Date: July 22 - August 3, 2013
The children’s camp is a festival!
It will be held for children from the Bethlehem region to take part in arts, music, dance, theatre, sport and games.
This will also be a chance for children to experience camping for the first time and learn about their rural heritage in a peaceful location.
The projects will be educational, will promote tolerance and peace, challenge prejudice, but most importantly, it will be a chance for the children to have a break from the politics that overwhelm their childhood.