Islam, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem

Islam teaches cooking in her home to help benefit the Noor Women’s Empowerment Project at Aida Camp in Bethlehem. This project supports the needs of disabled children and their mothers who live there. The day we cooked together in her kitchen, Islam and her neighbor, Umm Majdi, taught a small group of us how to make Maqluba, a classic and absolutely delicious Palestinian meal made with rice, chicken, vegetables and spices. It was incredible.

Upon entering the camp we walked through the streets along the Separation Wall. It’s presence was looming beside us. The murals and graffiti capture attention almost immediately and tell us the story of the occupation and the longing for freedom.

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The key is an important symbol in Occupied Palestine. It represents the return to one’s home, a right denied to Palestinian refugees, many of which still have the original deeds or keys to their homes that they were forced to leave either in 1948 or in 1967, or anytime in between (or since).

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All images © 2015 Iris Brito Stevens. All rights reserved.

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