Listen to lively stories and inspiring interviews about the history and cultural heritage of Palestine and the ongoing Palestinian struggle for justice and equality. Every Monday a new episode. Subscribe to the mailing list for a weekly update so you never miss an episode. All social media links (facebook, instagram and youtube) and to subscribe to the mail chimp are in one place, easy, on the website www.storiesfrompalestine.info The music for this podcast was made by Zaid Hilal, Palestinian musician, you can find him on Soundcloud, Spotify, Facebook and Instagram.
For Handmade Palestine, an initiative that promotes the sales of handicrafts made by local Palestinian artisans, I am producing a series of podcast episodes about the artisans and their work.
In this episode you can listen to two interviews with artisans in Bethlehem.
At Ma'an Lil Hayat we speak about the felted wool items that they produce, with local wool from sheep in the Bethlehem area. At this Center people with and without intellectual disabilities work together in the felting process. This is not only about producing felt items like nativity sets and Christmas hangers, but more so about a social life and learning skills for people with intellectual disabilities. In the interview you can hear them and the staff of the Center and you can feel how valuable this place is for all of them.
The father and son Tawfiq and Samer Kattan are silversmiths in Bethlehem. Together with Nadira Al Araj they work on producing silver jewelry in the shape of the olive leave. Each piece is unique because it is shaped with a real olive leave as the model. The olive leave burns inside the melted silver after it gave its shape to the pendant or earring.
If you want to see the items and possibly order online go to https://handmadepalestine.com
For updates on the opening of the country for individual tourists click here
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Handmade Palestine supports fair trade artisans in Palestine
Handmade Palestine is an initiative by Morgan and her husband Saleh, who run the La Vie Cafe in Ramallah, and Majdi, to support the sales of handicrafts of local Palestinian artisans.
As they do not have a budget for marketing, they decided to start a crowdfunding and online Bazar. The crowdfunding and Bazar will be released on 22nd of October 2021.
On Saturday 23rd of October there will also be a real Bazar at La Vie Cafe in Ramallah where all the 25 artisans will be present with their produce for sale!
This is the first episode of a series about the artisans of Handmade Palestine. In the next episodes you will hear interviews with several of the inspiring businesses, cooperatives and initiatives.
To learn more about the campaign and how you can support the artisans visit -->
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Guided visit to Jacob's well in Nablus and Sebastia archaeological site
New tour guides, who finished the tour guide program at the Bethlehem Bible College with me this summer, organized a day trip to Nablus and Sebastia. There were about 35 Palestinians on the bus that took off from Beit Sahour early in the morning. After 2,5 hours we reached the Jacob's well church in Nablus. This church is a very recent building that was built on the location where several churches were built around a water well that is said to be the well that Jacob dug on the land of Shechem. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham who came from Mesopotamia and is considered the founding father of all three monotheistic religions.
In this podcast episode you can learn more about the relevance of this water well also in the New Testament of the Bible when Jesus met a Samaritan woman at this well with whom he had a very important conversation about the location of the Temple. Samaritans believed that they should pray to God in the Temple on Mount Gerizim while the Jews prayed in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus reveals to her his true nature and tells her that the time has come when the location of prayer is not relevant anymore. The woman goes to her village and tells everyone about Jesus. She is considered the first female evangelist.
After our visit to the Jacob's well church you can hear more about the archaeological site of Sebastia, a city that was established in the Roman time under emperor Vespasian. We visit the ruins of the forum and basilica, the theater and the Hellenistic tower. Up on the hill are the stairs that used to lead to the Temple for Augustus and behind it a big structure that is often indicated as an iron age palace for the Israelite kings Omri and Ahab, but some archaeologists date the site to later times. And the Byzantine church ruins are also interesting as they give access to a crypt where John the Baptist is said to have been buried, his body that is, after he was beheaded by Herod Antipas.
You can hear all about these historical sites in this podcast episodes. With thanks to Ibrahim Khair, Elias Khair, Nayif Gharib, Waffa Sabat and Saleem Anfous.
If you want to sign up for the mailinglist, connect on social media or contribute to the podcast you can use the following link: https://podspout.app/storiesfrompalestine
Psychology Spa in Palestine
Psychology and health care in Palestine
In this podcast episode I speak with Jumana Kaplanian about psychology in Palestine and the stigma about mental health that still exists in the Palestinian society. Jumana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Psychology from Bethlehem University in Bethlehem and an MSc in Psychology from Oxford Brookes University in Oxford.
Mental illness is considered one of the largest and least acknowledged health problems in Palestine. For decades the West Bank has suffered from political, social, and economic strife. Palestinians have been exposed to a series of traumatic events, such as imprisonment, torture, humiliation, human rights violations, house demolitions, land confiscation, restriction of movement, unemployment, and under-employment. As a result, many people suffer from various emotional and psychological traumas.
The importance of psychological treatment in Palestine
Mental health service providers in Palestine usually offer support, rehabilitation, and counseling services for people dealing with psychological problems. Mainly, these organizations focus on counseling and treating the disorders rather than arming people with the required knowledge to realize the importance of psychological needs to seek treatment. In most cases, these organizations are the ones who approach people to offer help. In many other cases, people ignore their psychological distress for an extended period and only seek help when they reach advanced disorder stages.
Awareness of mental health at Psychology Spa
Psychology Spa works to raise awareness of mental health, fight social stigma, and achieve social transformation regarding mental health.
Psychology Spa is the first specialized non-profit company in Psycho education in Palestine since 2016. Psychology spa is a place where groups meet to learn, discuss, share, and seek ways to gain psychological knowledge.
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Palestinian Russian equestrian Diana Al Shaer
Diana Al Shaer has a Palestinian father and a Russian mother. Her grandfather was the first Palestinian ambassador in Russia and her father followed him in his footsteps. Diana grew up in Russia and by the age of 25 she started to become more and more connected to her Palestinian identity.
She is an international Grand Prix dressage rider and sports diplomat and she was asked by the Palestine Equestrian Federation to come out for Palestine in last summer's Olympic Games. Unfortunately her horse was injured and she could not participate, even though they had qualified originally. But she is keen to try again in 3 years and her horse is still young enough to be ready by that time!
Besides horse riding she is also the initiator of Pali-Rus Media, an initiative that wants to be a cultural media bridge between Russia and Palestine. Recently she produced a video with a beautiful synergy between Russian ballet and Palestinian dabka dance.
Diana also produces a podcast that is called Dialogue. Last week she published an episode in which she interviewed me, Kristel, about Stories from Palestine podcast. You can find her podcast episodes on her YouTube channel and she is working on getting all episodes uploaded on podcast players. Here are some links to connect with Diana on social media:
Instagram Diana Al Shaher
Click here to watch and hear the episode about Stories from Palestine podcast on Dialogue
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Jenin and the Freedom Theater
On 6 September 2021 six Palestinian political prisoners freed themselves from the high security Gilboa prison in Israel. Two weeks later they were all found and brought back to prison. One of the six men, Zakaria al Zubeidi, was one of the founders of the Freedom Theater in Jenin.
In this podcast episode I speak with Mustafa Staiti, who is from the Jenin refugee camp, but currently lives in Holland, about the Freedom Theater and how the theater had an important impact on his life.
The theater activities in Jenin refugee camp started in the 90s with the work of a Jewish Israeli woman who was married to a Palestinian, her name was Arna Meir Khamis. She also established the Women in Black to protect Palestinian prisoners and Palestinians crossing checkpoints. Arna used to live with Mustafa and his family and was like a second mother to him. She died of cancer. Her son Juliano made the film Arna's children about the children in the refugee camp. One of the boys that features in this film is Zakaria al Zubeidi.
Later he became an important leader of the resistance in the refugee camp. He put down the weapons and together with a Swedish Jew, Jonathan Stanczak and Juliano Meir Khamis, they established the Freedom Theater in which theater was not only fun but also therapeutic.
To read more about the Freedom Theater you can go to their website:
You can also watch the full movie Arna's children on YouTube
Or check out the YouTube channel of the Freedom Theater
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Interesting and diverse
Interesting, engaging and honest stories. Every week a different topic. I enjoy learning about Palestine and its people. Very diverse subjects.