We checked out of Notre-Dame, Jerusalem and to Bethlehem University. We had no difficulty through the Israeli checkpoint. Brother Joe, Director of the Brothers' Community at the University, met us and gave us a presentation in the University Chapel. We then viewed a DVD about the University in Furno Hall entitled "Beacon of Hope," which the University is for the Palestinian community. Students from Bethlehem University then engaged the Saint Mary's group about the situation in which they live. They then guided the Saint Mary's students through Bethlehem, including the Church of the Nativity. After lunch, we checked in to St. Vincent Hospice, conducted by the Daughters of Charity as an income generating project for their orphanage, the only one for the Palestinians. We then visited Dheisheh Refugee Camp nearby which has over 13,000 refugees. Demitri Awwad, PR director of Bethlehem University hosted students at his home for after-dinner refreshments.
This morning we are on our way to Hebron, Al-Khalil [meaning friend in Arabic in honor of Abraham who is buried there], to meet with the UN group responsible for observing the situation there and which will guide us through Old Hebron. We will visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs before lunch. We will host the Bethlehem University students at the TENT, a traditional Palestinian restaurant in Beit Sahour, one of the villages near Bethlehem and the site of Shepherd's Field.
Some much needed rain these days but not enough to deter us from our itinerary!