We cannot see what we are doing.
We cannot see each other or the people we came to help.
We may wonder why they need help. The whole family is working with us.
unless we turn from our work and take a moment to study the background
The field sits on the edge of the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, one of the oldest settlements, founded in 1968. If the wheat is not harvested, threshed and stored quickly, residents of the settlement are likely to come and burn it as they have done before. The anxiety about the settlers made the harvesting of the grain the most strenuous part of the process. Some of the volunteers for Ta’ayush harvested last week and this morning, carrying the wheat to the upper field where settlers are less likely to molest it. Others came for the threshing, which is bad enough. I make a mental note to bring work gloves and a mask.
We feed the machine that separates the wheat from the chaff.
collect the bags and move them to a safe place.
While we thresh, the settlement hides beneath a screen of flying wheat.
But wheat is tiny and so is the field where it is threshed.
The settlement looms over the field. When we are done threshing we eat sun-drenched food on a terrace. While we eat, the settlement emerges from hiding and dominates the view. There are no terraces in the settlement, as someone points out. We wonder what the people there see from their windows.
text and photographs © Margaret Olin 2015
on Ta’ayush, see http://www.taayush.org