On the day of Eid I met a girl named Doaa and her mother who invited me to visit there home. Doaa studies English literature at Bethlehem University and seem to me like a real city-girl like myself. But even though she seems to belong in a modern city-life she is also very proud of her family’s farming land in Artas. We met in the center of Bethlehem, and stopped by to see her mother who’s selling vegetables on the marked. She seemed happy that I was coming to visit, and had already decided that she would make me my favorite Palestinian dish, Uzi (deliciously spiced chicken and rice with nuts, salad and yogurt).
Doaa and her family lives in a beautiful traditional stone house in Artas. When we arrived there, we went straight to the fields, to be able to see everything before sunset. Struggling to find our way between the many different fields, we ran into Dooas father, who apparently spend almost all his time working there. He helped us find the way to the right field. We also run into a group of women who seemed surprised to see an agnabyye (foreigner) in the middle of the fields. They started to give me all kind of vegetables from their fields; tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, different kinds of squash, and encouraged me to have photos taken of myself picking the different kinds.
It returned to Doaa’s house with two plastic-bags full of fruits and vegetables and a great feeling from being out in the nature, all the different smells and the friendly people. And Dooa’s mother had almost finished preparing the Uzi.
After the meal we had tea and coffee outside. Doaa’s older brother showed me the two turtles he keeps on the root and told me some cool traditional stories, like one who says there is 99 devils in Artas, and that even if they travel all over they always come back to sleep and rest in Artas. He is a newly graduated lawyer and writes poetry as a hobby so we discussed some Arabic writers. I also made friends with all the kids in the house (the sons and daughters of Dooas other brother), and it was hard to say goodbye to everyone. But I was invited to stay there next summer and have my own room with balcony (for free!). “InsjAllah”, maybe I will.
The last days after this visit, I’ve been lucky to pass Doaa’s mother everyday where she’s selling Artas fruits and vegetables on the market in Bethlehem. She and her friend always give me more fruits than I can carry and tons of blessings in Arabic.