The Open House in Ramle - a peace education center in Ramle, Israel

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2010 Summer Peace Camp

The 2010 summer camp of Open House took place between the 4th of July to the 22nd on Neve Shalom grounds with 97 Arab and Jewish children. Participants were gathered from the greater Ramle area including Lod, Neve Shalom, Kibbuts Gezer, Beit Hashmonai, Carmei Yosef, Gizo, Eshtaol, Kfar Uriah Ein Hemed Abu Gosh and Beit Nakuba.

Like last year, the summer camp coordinator was Vivian Rabia and the summer camp director was Costa Mansour.

The Program :

Open House Ramle baloon activity As usual on the first day we used all our special techniques to get the children to know the others in their own age group and their own leaders. The challenge here is particularly for new children to feel safe. Those who come back from the previous summer camp year are very helpful in helping the new friends feel at home. We wished to distribute the activities between activities in the camp and day trips. The activities on the ground included , exposure to other cultures through art music and dance {guided by our own staff and professional from outside},creation of costumes, theatre juggling and magic, creation of sculptures, huge bubbles, sports, treasure hunt, swimming pool and special learning session about birds and their migration routes. We especially wish to thank “Beads for Peace” for having approached us and offered an activity of working with beads. The children loved creating the beautiful white bracelets with two doves, which symbolize their hopes. Many of them offered them as gifts to their mothers.

Day Trips: We had our magnificent day in the Latroun Trappist Monastery with which Open House has a long standing relationship. There the children prepare their own pita bread in the beautiful grounds of the Monastery, pick grapes which they squeeze bare-footed in the ancient wine press, ride donkeys and do art work that attempts to convey the meaning of archaeological layers in this ancient land!

Open House Ramle 2010 Camp Cihldren Our visit to the Water Park is always great fun, as is a separate visit to an Amusement Park with its excitement. The beautifully crafted animals from Dinosaur times to this day evoked the imagination about the process of evolution.

The special effects 3D movie was another outing which is “great fun”.

We had our day of “rope challenges” in the forest, which included walking on ropes and snapling (Rappelling). Learning from last year’s experience, we knew that this particular activity takes time and patience and needs a lot of individual attention. Many of the children are both fearful and very eager to go through the trial of treading on a rope in mid air. While the children were waiting their turn on the ropes, other activities were in operation like cooking, baking, using natural materials found in the forest to make fire, create a bow and arrow and needed utensils. A respectful relationship towards Nature is, in our opinion, an integral part of living a wholesome life and developing respect towards each other. The American Indian model was taken as example. The last day was joyfully spent in the swimming pool with music and huge inflatable toys which one can swim with, slide from, ride on etc.

Letters from parents to Vivian Rabia and Costa Mansour. {The letters are written in Hebrew and translated by Dalia}

Vivian and Costa shalom!

I wanted to say that Ismail enjoyed the summer camp very much and he also said several times that he is missing the summer camp and wishes to return to the summer camp as soon as possible.

Ismail said that he enjoyed the trips and also the activities in Neve Shalom [the location of the Open House camp—translator’s note].

I believe that the warmth and love he received from the counselors added to his good experience and I so much wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

It is clear that the staff did its work out of love and respect for the children, without tiredness, complaint or criticism, which I do not take for granted.

We will be happy for Ismail to be next year part of your summer camp and he asked if you can add activities with animals, like going to the zoo.

With blessings,

Manaal Abu Haq

Shalom Costa,

I am Tal Barak, the mother of Lior from Carmei Yosef.

I wish very much to thank you for the successful management of the summer camp. Lior returned happy everyday and enjoyed the summer camp very much.

The activities you chose were very successful. He enjoyed American Indian day, the bow and arrow, he enjoyed ‘the Day around the World’ and the Capuera.

He very much enjoyed the days you traveled to Cinema City, Superland and Shfayim [Water Park].

The counselors were very good because I understood that Lior was very happy with them.

The bus service was good. The drivers were polite and responsible. We had direct communication with them and I was favorably impressed.

We were pleased that the summer camp took place in Neve Shalom. In the School [of peace] there are shady places, sport grounds, a very beautiful swimming pool, and to me it seems as an ideal place for a summer camp.

I think that the summer camp was successful in every possible respect, we will be pleased to send Lior to it next year as well.

Wishing you a continuation with your blessed work,

Tal Barak.

Beads for peace

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