Ishmeal met us at the other side with to lovely lads Ahmed and his friend, whose name I forgot oops. We were taken round the old city , Ahmed showing us where the IDF had demolished some of the older buildings and also where during the second Intifada , the IDF had murdered many people " There were parts of bodies all up this wall "he recounted.
Later that day we did a show in Askar camp, one of the many refugee camps that sprung up after 1948. The show was in an UNWRA sports/media centre, we were a bit unsure how the show would go down , but the kids were brilliant and seemed to really enjoy it, we got out the parachute and it got a little chaotic , but we like it that way.
After we went for another amazing dinner at Ahmeds house. Once again I was over whelmed by the warmth , openness and generosity of the Palestinian people, never have I experienced such hospitality, it makes me realise there are only 2 dangers in Palestine , the IDF and being fed to death by a Palestinian family.
Ishmal; Ahmeds Father recounted how life was just after 1948, when his family where first forced from their land, they came to what is now Askar camp and have been here ever since, life was hard for a young Ishmal living all year round in a tent donated by the UN that barley protected them from the elements, as time went on it became clear they would never be able to return to their land they began to build simple one room houses, over time these have been improved , enlarged and made into homes.
Askar camp suffers from regular incursions by the IDF, Ishmal told us that how just over a year ago the IDF had broken into the several story building and rounded up the 35 Men , women and children that live there and herded them all into small room, they took over the rest of the house and used it to shoot outside from, the shock of this caused Ishmals elderly Mother to suffer a heart attack this was at 2am , despite their begs and pleas the IDF refused to let them leave the room to call an ambulance, consequently Ishmals Mother died. It was only at 11am when the IDF knew that she was dead were they then allowed to call for an ambulance .
Our time in Nablus continued with more shows in local villages , all that went well, we even got to share the stage with some traditional Palestinian dancers, I clocked a young boy dancing away at the back, then looked again , he was dancing on a donkey, rad !!!!
The next morning we up early to scoot over to Jalazone camp near Ramallah , late as usual, we had deiced to get on a bus, and we were stopped at 3 checkpoints in less than 5 miles, every ones identity's checked , but this is nothing out the ordinary for any Palestinian trying to get to work in the morning. We did a great show at the new UNRWA school there thanks to Iman on of the Teachers there, then it was straight back in a taxi to Huwra for another show, then on again to the next village.
No rest for the wicked as they say ,as we were straight back in a taxi to take us to El Fara camp north of Nablus.
We arrived at the home of another amazing family who fed and watered us and gave us a bed for the night. There was one very sad looking older lady , it transpired later that both her children had been killed by the IDF, one in he last month, he had been shot in the heart many years before, the Doctors saved him but could not remove the bullet 18 years later it killed him.
We did a great show a the UNWRA school there , they had a sound system so we were able o finish off with a conga to Barbie girl, I definitely had more fun than the kids.
El Fara camp suffers almost nightly incursions, from the IDF as do most of the camps it seems, normally they aren't looking for anyone in particular its all about intimidation.
By this stage we were knackered but had a great big lunch and loads of coca cola and coffee then we were off to Seybastia a village about half an hours drive where we got o perform in a Roman ampitheatre, the show went down well, despite our contacts fears that 5 women performing would be to much for this small place.
After lots more coca cola we made our way back to Ramallah for a well deserved day off, straight to the bar for beer and food, I had a lovely salad that had half a carton of orange juice poured on it as the dressing but luckily after eaten nothing but falafel for a while it didn't seem so bad.