I’ve now spent more than 24 hours in Tulkarm and am prepared to share a few – very general – observations about the town where I will be living and working for the next three months.
First, the house. If all goes well (the wireless connection here is VERY slow!), I will download a couple of photos to give you an idea of what it looks like – at least from the exterior. It is what I would call a “typical” Palestinian structure, that is several stories (ours is four), with separate living quarters on each floor.
“Our” apartment is on the ground floor – which makes it a bit dark as there are only windows on two sides, but which gives us a lovely garden. We have two bedrooms (“girls” and “boys”), a large living/dining room, a large kitchen and a bathroom.
The town is quite large, with a population of about 60,000 people, not counting the two refugee camps, which hold about 10,000 people each. It appears relatively prosperous (at least considering its location in the northwestern West Bank), with a large “market” area in the city center and a fair amount of new construction.
Because Tulkarm is in “Area A,” the part of Palestine that, theoretically at least, is under Palestinian control, there have been no house demolitions in the town – though, sadly, the same can’t be said for the neighboring villages!
And, of course, there is the indomitable Wall, through which no one moves without a permit. I was on checkpoint duty this morning, so got a close up look at the damage it wreaked when it was constructed in 2003.
Given the busyness of my days – and the early rising times – I’ll save further description for another time!