In August 2017, I went to the Greenbelt Festival in Kettering, England with some friends. The first session I went to changed my life! The speaker, from the 'Embrace Middle East' charity unfolded the history of the Nakba and the occupation on Palestinians, something I knew virtually nothing about.
Rather than leaving us overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges faced by ordinary people living in occupation, he explained how a simple act of sponsoring an olive tree can bring both hope and practical help to the Palestinian farmers. So along with others, I sponsored a tree. The next morning I knew there was more for me to do. So, I committed to buy a further 58 trees to celebrate my 59th birthday in March 2018. By the end of the Saturday I had arranged to go to the West Bank in February 2018 to plant my 59 trees!
Planting row after row of olive saplings under clear skies, with an International group, was both hard work and great fun. Throughout we experienced hospitality and gratitude from the farmers and their families and saw first hand the challenges they face.