All of the Internationals got together last week for a meal, provided by our sole American volunteer. She obtained a turkey and all the trimmings, and a vegetarian option was also provided. Another volunteer went to the Samaritan village a way from here and provided some red wine from Bethlehem. For many of us, it was the first alcohol that had passed our lips since we had arrived.
I'm not sure of the history of this festival, not being too interested in hyped-up opportunities for mass-consumerism, but one of our two German volunteers quipped, in good humour 'so, we're celebrating genocide now, are we?'. My limited knowledge of the history of the creation of the USA stretches far enough to know that the territorial rights of the original inhabitants were not exactly respected. Same can be said for the Aborigines in Australia, who are now also living in 'reserves' (read camps) and to a certain extent the Mauris in New Zealand. I've just finished reading a book about the first arrival of British convicts in what is now called Sydney, on how the locals tried to stop the colonisation of the riversides, where they had hunted and gathered for millennia, to no avail.
The most memorable quote of the evening has to go to the other German, however. Going round the table, we all had to give thanks to something or someone. Quite a few poignant, funny or sad comments, until we got to Jonas who said: "I give thanks to gravity, without which we wouldn't all be sitting here".