Wednesday, February 8, 2012

EAPPI 'Training

I spent three days in Washington, DC, where I basked in the glow of big government buildings and amazingly mild, sunny weather. I always have the impression that everything is up-sized in DC--the blocks each seem to be half a mile, the streets are all wide boulevards like the Champs d'Elysees. I was particularly struck with the number of seconds on the sidewalk lights--60 seconds. In Portland we would be up in arms at having to wait so long for the light to change.They take it in stride.

The EAPPI program has as its goal to being about a peaceful end to the Occupation. For the last 10 years groups of approximately 25-30 volunteers have worked side by side Palestinians who have the same goal, as well as many other NGOs (Non-Governmental Orgs), many of them formed and led by Israelis who see the negative impact the occupation has on their daily lives. I am excited to take part in this journey.

During orientation we met with Andy Chan, a former EA who was on the second group. I am in group 43 so things have changed quite a bit. We also met with Warren Clark, a former ambassador, and director of CMEP (Churches for Middle East Peace), who will be in Bethlehem while I am there on a conference called Christ at the Checkpoint. It would be exciting if I could attend at least some of the conference and take part in worship.

One of the significant reasons the EAPPI has elected to do training in Washington, DC, is the opportunity to meet with our senators and representatives. While Suzanne Bonamici was sworn in while I was there, she will no longer be my representative due to a change due to redistricting. I did have the opportunity, however, to be warmly greeted by Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley's staff.

My head is spinning with information and insight, and praise for Ann Hafften, the director of EAPPI US. Of course the effectiveness of the training will be my ability to function well as an EA, so I'll be able to tell her later, much later, what she also needed to talk about or keep me more awake to hear more (it wasn't always easy to stay awake, even one on one.)

In 2 hours I leave for the airport for Tel Aviv. Keep me in your prayers.

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