Donnerstag, 26. Februar 2009

nice blog and idea

Sonntag, 22. Februar 2009


Neues Datum für Basel:
Connect Cafe (Unternehmen Mitte, Basel) 26.02.2009 19:00 Uhr

Rudolf Steiner Schule Loheland (Fulda) 06.03.2009 20:00 Uhr

Alanus Hochschule, Alfter bei Bonn, 24.03.2009, 20:00 Uhr

Sonntag, 15. Februar 2009

Gaza experience 2

Even I am quite tired now I want to write a bit more before I forget to much ... today in the morning our director of the whole project gave a presentation in front of a few foundations which brought a lot of pictures back to mind.

Second day in Gaza, we did a lot of reflection after the first day which helped me to get a few things more clear on what to focus working with the kids.
The south group went back to the Eid Al Agha school close to Khan Younis. When we arrived a huge group of girls was already waiting for us on the school yard. What can you do with 150 girls in all ages with 3 people? The rest of our group went to the office to meet the schools principle. So I went into the middle of the group, we wanted to do a huge circle, but unfortunately that did work because the girls wanted to stay as close as possible to us. Yeah most of them hadn't seen friendly strangers their whole live. So I just started telling a story and acting at the same time. Could you imagine little Lukas standing in the middle of 80 girls, all staring at him? We were going for a trip, running, climbing, swimming, resting, eating - all with gestures. At the end when we had breakfast I asked what can we eat - they said cucumbers, tomatoes and so on, so I cut them symbolically, all the girls were laughing, because a man preparing breakfast for them and passing them symbolic food, that's something they never experienced. We had a lot of fun. But what do you do, if much smaller girls comes to you, a little afraid of all the noise around her from her older colleagues and looking with big brown eyes at you an grape's your hand ... all at the sudden everyone wants to be on your hand. Wow at some point I was fleeing into the office because there were to many of them. Waving. But at least they had got something to smile while fighting planes were flying over us.
Shortly after we got a smaller group and started real work. The thing I described with the story telling was working know much better, because we could walk/run in a circle and got some actual movement into the kids.

This pics were drawn by the children just before we arrived. I wanted to share at least one, to show you some of the inside of these kids. Just try to imagine what this girls wants to express and free from her inside.

In the afternoon we went again to the Al Qattan centre to work with more children. Oh I forgot to write about the children in the centre from the first day. I will do later.
Again a similar situation, hundreds of children waiting for us. The south group was the first who did arrive, the north group was still on there way. So we said yeah, lets start. I had a group at the beginning of around 50 children. That's already a big group but nevertheless I couldn't send half of the group away. We had different ages from 3 to 15 years. So you can't play little kids are going for a trip but you also cant play difficult concentration games. So what do you do? Make the best out of it and get a mixture. At the beginning it was fine, very often I had to explain by showing to every kid, what we want to do. For example: Your right neighbour in the circle is passing you a clap and you should pass it on with taking it from the right side and describe half a circle in front of you and pass it on the your left neighbour. Imagine Lukas standing in front of pretty much every child showing him/her the movement. For me it was one of the nicest things I could do, because I had the chance to look at least once in every child's eye's.
After a while we wanted to play my river game. Imagine on one side of a river is you home and on the other side your school, so in the morning you want to go to school and in the afternoon you want to go home. My blue rope was the river, making first smaller than bigger waves and the children had to jump over it. Imagine in the meantime around 80 kids doing that. Of course it got chaotic. It took the staff of the Al Qattan who were either filming me with their mobiles, translating or supporting me by getting some order in to the whole, and me some five minutes we could continue. But than I tolled the story of a little boy, maybe a boy like Mohamed or Yousef or any one else going into the jungle. Than imagine me, liking to act. That got scared of a loud noise which he heard by a sudden. So he climbs on a tree. (Keep in mind, around 100 kids [a group of three years arrived in the meantime] around me, sticking to my lips) Than he saw a small animal crawling through the huge jungle plants. The boy is wondering how such an animal can make a noise which scares him to death. After a while the coy climbed down the tree, saying halo to the small monkey, he couldn't the see that it was a monkey, because the tree was so high. (Lukas as a monkey, haha) They became really good friends, went home the boys house, went to school together, visited friends, did everything together for the whole live and lived as long as you can think.
The kids were so happy, they didn't want to go. Just nice. My co-worker, translator and me lost our voices during that day, we couldn't talk afterwards, but still, just nice, I mean what shall you do?

Next day, so to say our last working day as we found out at 5:30 pm, but one after another.
We went to the Atfaluna Society for Deaf children. That meant for us a long day and hard work. 250 children and youth wanted to meet us. Deaf. Deaf? What? How can I communicate with them? Oh yeah true I like to act and I still have got my body. It took me some time to get over the fear that this work is more difficult than the one we did the days before. At the end it was easier and you know why? I didn't need to talk! They were looking at me to see what I am doing, to understand what I was trying to say them. But still I had a good translator into sign language, amazing what you can tell with it - everything - except names as we understand them. Telling all the time all letters takes to much time, so you get a sign for you, I was the smiling one ;-) I agreed on that, of course! It got so much power out of that work, in the morning I was so tired but after working with them in such a nice centre, I was so inspired. For sure the staff did its part. They were so interested in our work, that they didn't want to let us leave before we tolled them a little about our way of working. We had a good but short session with them which needs to be completed.

Than we went to the Samulie/Samunie famliy. You might have heard of them, their case was in the media as well. 39 people of that family (not a single family, rather the family clan) were called into one room at the beginning of the war. Most of them were shot by an Apachi and killed, houses destroyed all around them, around 10-15 houses, olive groves, chicken stable. Two houses were left for a military base. (if you want to hear more details of that family, just put "samuni gaza" in google, but be careful, you might not be mentally able to get along with some of the pictures). The kids were already on our first day in the Al Qattan centre so we knew some of them. Just make sure, you know about what kids I am talking right now. Most of them lost their whole family, they didn't just loose them, they SAW how they were rotting because ambulances couldn't reach the area for around for days. The kids had no food, no water.


The kids we saw had swollen and crusted eyes, of the phosphorus being used. Flies were sitting in them. I had the feeling some of them still had the dust of the break down of the houses in their hair. Some didn't talk, some were crying, shouting, some very aggressive, some really shy and everything in between.

Difficult just to play with them, but we did. At the end, I was telling again my story of the little boy as mentioned above. After I finished, I wanted something I could offer the kids from me personally. So I gave everyone a golden ball, symbolically. I asked them to take it home, show it to there parents and friends. One boy asked me what it is. I tolled him, look its something personally and very important from me. I made a gesture, took that time the ball from my heart and gave it to him. He took it and asked me, if I would become his new brother, because he lost his family. I don't need to tell you, that I am still nearly crying ... when I am writing that. Of course I said yes! And now, all kids asked me, if I would be their new brother. What are you telling 20 kids? Yes I am their new brother. But can I bee a brother for them, if they need one? What is a brothers task in Gaza? Can I fulfil that task? I hope and I wish.

It s 1:30 am and I need to do breakfast tomorrow for our meeting ... to make it short ...

After we left the family we went to the Al Amal orphanage. We just arrived their, introduced ourself and wanted to start working as we got a call from the German embassy in Cairo telling us we have to leave immediately because the boarder is closing by 7 pm. So we had 1,5 hours to take our staff from the hotel, go to the boarder, which takes one hour and be out. We were shocked, why do we need to go out today? We had signed when we entered, that we leave at the 5.2. We didn't know what is going to happen. So we had to leave.
We managed to get out and were on the Egyptian side by 8:30 pm. We tried again on the 5th to enter again but except soldiers and police there were NO one at the boarder.
We were so frustrated, we just started working, no we had to leave all the amazing people which we couldn't say good by to. What could we have done if we would have been able to stay the whole two weeks as we plant... god knows.
We had some nice days in Egypt, except a very live questioning incident. We stayed at the beach in Al Arish, 50 km south of the Gazan boarder. It was night, a colleague and me wanted to walk at the beach ... what we didn't know that we were in closed military area. That means between 6pm and 6am is the beach closed and controlled by the military... by a sudden soldiers shouted at us in Arabic, lay down, raise your hands, get down on your knees ... we didn't see them coming. As they were close to us the shouted us to lay into the sand. I moved my had a little up and was looking in to an Kalaschnikov. I thought, ok thats it, a German went to Gaza to help traumatized children and got shot by Egyptian military. What a good headline.

BUT, we could solve the whole situation and since Monday the 9.2. I am back in Switzerland. Now we are preparing the next activity, of course we want and need to go back. Lets hope it will happen. If any body has some money left, just donate it to the Friends of Waldorf education

Freitag, 13. Februar 2009


I am giving presentations about my Gaza experience:

Waldorfschule Ismaning 19.02.2009 20:00 Uhr

Connect Cafe (Unternehmen Mitte, Basel) 24.02.2009 19:00 Uhr

Rudolf Steiner Schule Loheland (Fulda) 06.03.2009 20:00 Uhr

And I am willing to give further presentations, I would go everywhere I can to tell what I have seen. Just write a comment or an email.

Donnerstag, 12. Februar 2009

news in arte info

just telling you, be careful what you see and hear ...

Some pictures

Some pictures of what we saw in Gaza and some of our work. Just klick on the pic and you get to a picasa collection.

Gaza 09-02 1

A press release in my German home town Fuldaer Zeitung

Artikel für Online News geschrieben Lukas in Gaza

Dienstag, 10. Februar 2009

Gaza experience

I am back home in Basel. Sooner as expected and difficult to accept - but still good.

But from the beginning and everything in order - hopefully understandable for you.

On the 28. of January a friend contacted and told me that the Friends of Waldorf Education Rudolf Steiners are going to Gaza and a experience pedagogue isn't joining so they might have a space left in their team. So I called them and asked if I could join. They gave me half an hour to decide. I had to ask the Volkersberg team if it is ok if I am going because I said, that I gone work there at the beginning of February. For them it was a quick decision, they told me that it is important to go there. So I called the Friends and said that I gone come. Just e few minutes after I realized what I just decided - yes I am going to Gaza. A piece of earth I wanted to go long time ago but was to afraid and didn't know how to go and a place were a few days back tons of bombs were falling - thousands lost there beloved ones, lost there houses, basic live and so on, were injured people trying to recover, traumatized children/humans searching for ways how to cope with their experience - I was nervous, didn't know what to think about my decision. But at the end I said to myself - well you decided to go, it must be for some reason!

On the 31.1. I was leaving from Basel to Paris to meet most of our team, doctors, teachers, translators. We flew to Cairo were we spent a night, a huge and interesting city, I would like to spent some more time there to know how life is going. On the 1.2. we left early in the morning going to the German embassy to collect a recommendation letter, that we can enter Gaza. We arrived at the Rafah boarder (between Egypt and Gaza) at around 3pm. It took quite some time, a lot of good will and efforts until we could talk to the major which decided if we can enter or not. Finally after a few hours of discussion we made it at around 7pm to the Palestinian side of the border. We were welcomed by bearded man offering us juice. Fairly easy we got our stamps of the Palestinian Authority, the first one I got into my passport even I have been several times in the Westbank, I felt some how of proud. Until 9pm we made to the Al Quds (Jerusalem) hotel. One of the best places to stay in Gaza and one of the most expensive. I didn't understand why we need to stay there, but later we found out, that all the others were full (of refugees or closed). When we went out to get some food the streets were quite dark and our contact person told us, that most of the area is without electricity because of the denial of fuel entering Gaza which runs the Gaza power plant. Shortly after being back in the hotel, we had a blackout but only a few minutes, until the generator was started. Everyone who can effort a generator has one and runs it with fuel which is coming through the tunnels from Egypt. Approximately 2000 tunnels exist with around 30 people working in such. Most of them stay in the tunnels for a weeks and get sick due to the lack of sunnlight and oxygen.

The next day, 1.2. a small group of us is going to the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) to organize our work. The rest of the group went around Gaza city for a while to get a first impression of the people and the destruction. Shortly after we were welcomed by Mahmoud Abu Aisha at the GCMHP which tolled us his own story, have a look at Dalal - the only survivor in her own family, than we all met with Dr. Ahmad Tawahina to discuss our work. It was clear in the whole program based on Antroposophie that we gone work first with children and than see what else need to be done. So we were looking for schools which needed some kind of support.
We split up into two groups, one going north to the heavily destroyed Al Atara region and another one south close to Khan Younis and the former settlement of Gush Katif. I was in the later.

At around 1:30pm we arrived at the Eid Al Agha school to work with some 8 and 12 years old girls. It was the first challenge for me, how do I interact with the girls, are they going to accept me as a foreign man? They heartbreakingly did! We were assisted by two people from the Quattan Centre which are doing great work. At the beginning I thought. why are we here? They are doing the best work for the kids, they don't need us. But after the session we got to know them better and they tolled us, we are traumatized ourself, we need your support as well. But we can't show our weakness in front of the children, they need us more than ever so we cant show our trauma. But you know about us, so we don't need to hide.
What we did? Some games mainly, jumping, clapping, throwing a ball, rope skipping, some "German" lesson. We were a little overwhelmed because we got the group from one minute to the other and especially me, having no experience in working with traumatized children, busy with my own to cope with the whole situation ... but at the end all of them seemed to be pretty happy. And I said before I left to Gaza, I am not psychologist, I know how to play and get a smile on children's faces, that's what I can do - and that's what I saw at the children's faces. (I will post some pics as soon as I have them, my bag got stuck at Paris airport yesterday).
With the second group (12 years) I did some stampers around the circle. For me it seemed to be pretty easy but for them them it was rather difficult. The task was to send the stamper from left to right through the circle but most of them mixed up right and left. For me it seemed to be some kind of disconnection between the two sides of the brain and the physical body. I did experience this phenomenon quite a few times. And it wasn't just the stampers which seemed to be somehow disturbed but as well the sight how some children looked at me. I had the feeling that they were physically present but mentally somewhere else between their experience and their feelings, they were looking through me.

So far for now. For those of you who cant wait to read more anniealina a friend and colleague who was with us or a press release from the NNA

More is there tomorrow.