Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Life in Darajat

The minaret of the mosque in Darajat. On top of the hill is the grave of a sheikh from the village. My friend and I wanted to go into the mosque and some children wanted to show it to us. As we walked over we became the pied piper, children gathered around to show us their mosque. We took off our shoes and went in. They took us to the top! I'm not sure if we were supposed to be up there but there we were with a grand view of the terrain and Darajat.
Looking down from the top of the minaret. The panel to the left is a solar panel. The town functions on generators and they boast that the mosque is the only mosque that is powered by generator.
We followed the children up the rounded staircase to the platform that you see with the railing.A budding muezzin! Muslim's are required to pray salah, ritual prayer five times a day. He is standing next to the pulpit or minbar. I'm not sure if this boy is facing Mecca but the muezzin faces toward the Ka'bah in Mecca. In Darajat the first call to prayer comes at 4:30 am!!! It was nice, I think. It began my morning early and in prayer, although mine were under the sheets. The muezzin of course woke up the roosters who sometimes decided to sit beneath my window. They prayed very loudly too.
One afternoon we took a tiyul (side trip) to the top of the hills that surround Darajat. There is a quarry on their land where many of the men work. It is said that it is through this valley Abraham, Isaac and Jacob traveled from Bet El and Hebron south to Beer Sheba, the Negev and then on to Egypt in the book of Genesis.
As we descended the hills we had this glorious view of all of Darajat. It was dusk so the light were beginning to come on.
And what's a bedouin village without camels. Here you can see camels grazing on the hills.
Some of the buildings appear to be vacant. They are but that is the way in which Arabs build their homes. They are built to accomodate generations of families. On the porch level we stayed on you could see the columns that had been inserted for the next level when it needs to be built. In 2005 the Israeli government recognized this village as a legitamate dwelling. The water pipes have been layed but Darajat has not been 'hooked' up to the water system. What they have to do is bring in water by tanks. In this photo the boys are on top getting the siffoning system going. We were without water in our bathroom for a day and a half, but there was water to drink.
A view out of the back of my bedroom window.
The weather was hot and windy because we were in a hamseen wind for most of the time were were there. Visibility was not the best. This boy choose to sleep on top of the roof to get some air. I found it hard to sleep because the wind coming through the windows were hot and so dry. One night before I climbed into bed I had to shake my sheets to get the fine layer of sand off.
The last night we were there though the hamseen broke. You know when they break because there is more wind but it's coooooool!!
As another little aside....also on the last night a few of us were sitting at the table outside where we took our meals. Three children were sitting on the steps next to us and a man began to yell. Then he took his sandal off and slapped it on the ground. He killed a scorpian....that was right next to was about two inches long.
A woman bringing dough down to the taboon oven. I'll post a separate entry about hoobus and the taboon.
At night the mosque was lit, again, by generator. All mosques have these green vertical lights illuminating the minaret. This photo was taken early in the evening. When most of the generators went off the mosque generator stayed on. The green glow was quite lovely but not when you're trying to go to sleep.

1 comment: said...

Your pictures and comments are wonderful. I will be taking tours to Darajat later this year. Do you have friends there I could meet in advance to familiarize myself with the village.

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