After some waiting at the checkpoint I finally made it to Jericho (not before taking the wrong taxi, crying and having to be rescued from the side of the desert, twice) but I got to Taybeh safe and sound and went directly to my family’s house where I met a lot of my cousins!
Taybeh is a small town in the West Bank in the outskirts of Ramallah. It is also the last all Christian town in Palestine and it has about 1,400 inhabitants. It has this small town charm where everyone knows each other, while the landscape was completely different, since the houses are all made out of white stone and the ground is littered with olive trees.
I like to say that anything you plant in Taybeh will grow.
So the first night we had dinner and the whole family came almost everyone lives in neighboring houses that are connected on the inside to each other.
Also my family is filled with girls. Here are all the girl cousins while there are only about 4 or 5 boys.
We had a small tour of the town before eating and then going to sleep.
The next day I got my own private tour of Taybeh.
This is St. George’s Church, which was built a very long time ago (I think the fourth century, Helda you can correct me) It is one of the fourth churches and the heart and pride of the town. Here the different churches have they’re special celebrations and whenever someone gets married, has a child or anything of the sort a goat is slaughtered at one of the entrances.
Taybeh, though its small, it is very beautiful and portrays the quintessential landscape of Palestine; both deserted and rich. Surprisingly enough in what looks to be just dry land it turns out that everything grows. The town is littered with olive trees and the houses host gardens filled with oranges, lemons, pomegranates and orchards bent down from the weight of grapes.
Inside the walls of the Catholic Church there is also an old house available for tourists to see how people used to live in the olden days!!! Below you can see yours truly in front of a machine used to press the olives to make olive oil (best in the world).
After all the touring we went back to one of my relative’s house and had some delicious food. (In Taybeh the food is always delicious always!!!)
Then my cousin and I started getting ready so we could go to an engagement party at night!
I was very excited for this part since I had no idea what to expect, however I came completely unprepared for a party and had nothing to wear. Thankfully my family came in to save the day (or night) and lent me a blue dress and shoes.
So the engagement was at Taybeh park, which is a sort of community center with a big room for events. It also has this at the entrance:
Though one may think it is an act of kindness actually thought of it as quite offensive since it is widely known that the U.S. uses it citizen’s taxes to aid Israel (It is the country it gives the most money to) and things like these just seem like a consolation prize or a façade to face off international pressures.
Nonetheless, politics aside, the engagement was something out of this world, it was practically a wedding. The bride wore a pink gown with gold detailing and the groom-to-be a matching pink tie. There was dancing, cake and a must photo shoot at the end with all of my cousins’ friends.
A glimpse of the decor and below the happy couple to-be being lifted up by their friends and family.