Anne - Workshop monitor - Ramallah - Palestine

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Uploaded 17 Aug 2008 — 2 favorites
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© Nuno Santos
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Photo Info
UploadedAugust 17, 2008
TakenAugust 14, 2008
MakeNikon Corporation
ModelNIKON D200
Exposure1/80 sec at f/4.8
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length56 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

She sat down on the table next to hours and, for a few minutes, the three of us paused our endless conversation. The same day I arrived in Jerusalem, I met these guys. They were sitting at a little table at the ‘Gate Cafe’ - a little coffee shop with a nice terrace tucked away on a side street close to the Damascus Gate. Since then, I got used to spend my afternoons there. Our conversations rapidly evolved from theme to theme, from politics to women, to religion, to literature, to any subject one of us could think of, making these tertulias as interesting as erratic.

- Anne! My good friend Anne has returned! - shouted the cafe owner, a palestinian guy in his mid forties, that lived most part of his life in the United States. He stopped the service and went to sit at her table whilst we resumed our chat, trying to avoid sensible themes, like women or politics.

That day, Mahmoud Darwish - a poet and soul of the whole palestinian nation - went to burial in Ramallah, and we were discussing, more likely praising, his goodness to humanity, his troubled life and how he has always lived in exile.

- My dad loves his poetry - She said, turning on our direction - I just came from Ramallah and his funeral was something very emotional. Thousands and thousands of people.

- Have you been long in Ramallah? I asked.

- Just came back to Palestine yesterday. I’ve been in France for a few weeks - she replied.

- Wonderful. So are you Palestinian, or you work here or something? I just couldn’t stop wanting to know more.

- No, no, I’m French, very French, with no connection to the middle-east. I just organize workshops in refugee camps. I graduated in fashion and design, and I work in France as an illustration freelancer so that I can have time (and money) to be here every few months. I started organizing workshops for women and young adults, encouraging them to express themselves through illustration and giving them tools that they can apply to their lives such as to start art projects or use their expression skills in other activities.

- So you work for some ONG or something - I said in an assuming tone.

- No, I work alone, no ONG, Palestinian Authority, or whatsoever. I have a couple of contacts that help me put the workshops together and I just set it up and run it. I really like working with women in the refugee camps.

I was amazed. Not with the ideal of working to save the world but exactly the opposite. Anne did not show any emotion, partisanship, any illusion that the world would be a better place with volunteers contribution. No, she was no naive, she wanted to do it for the thrill, because she liked to work with arab women.

I didn’t had the chance to finish the conversation. She had to go and my ride to Tel Aviv was there. We exchanged numbers and emails. I hope to visit her one of these days, take some photos.

- I put my head down and do what I like - she said.

It was time. Thanks Anne, it was a pleasure. A picture?

6 responses

  • Victor Ursabia

    Victor Ursabia said (17 Aug 2008):

    nice capture!

  • Ron Mandsager

    Ron Mandsager   gave props (17 Aug 2008):

    beautiful portrait!

  • Jan Hoffman

    Jan Hoffman gave props (17 Aug 2008):

    Excellent portrait and darn good back-story; perfect for the theme

  • Nuno Santos

    Nuno Santos said (17 Aug 2008):

    Thanks guys! Jan, really happy that you liked the story, the portrait wouldn't exist without it.

  • Debby Adler

    Debby Adler gave props (18 Aug 2008):

    Great story. The world is so full of amazing people.

  • Shawn

    Shawn said (24 Sep 2008):

    Handsome portrait. The Black and white brings out the life in the subject's eyes.

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