Tent of Nations

People Building Bridges

November 15, 2017


Friends –

This will be less a Newsletter and more an update on items of importance at this time.  I will keep it brief.

We have finally updated the FOTONNA website.  Our apologies for taking so long to do this!  You will find that the latest addition is on our Updates page:  Timeline of Events.  This item is being added to copies of Daoud’s book.

We will be working on making the website a place where you will be able to find more current articles from volunteers and others who visit the farm as they share their experiences. We also welcome pieces of creative writing, poetry, especially poignant photos and works of art that are connected to your experiences on the Nassar farm that we can share with others.  Please send anything of interest to Kay Plitt at:  kay@fotonna.org. It may take another month or so before this page takes off, so please keep checking it out.

Daoud has expressed an increased need for volunteer presence on the land as things progress through the court system and restrictions on travel get tighter throughout the entire area.  We know that November and December are difficult times for people to volunteer as much of the work on the land comes to a standstill during these colder months of the year.  The need is still there, but some long-term volunteers can take up the slack. Work picks up again in January, however, so you might consider making some long-range plans now for 2018. If you go to the Tent of Nations website (www.tentofnations.org), you will find more details about how to apply as a volunteer and what/when the greatest needs are for volunteers throughout the year.
  • Financial Support:  What we at FOTONNA have to offer is some financial support for volunteers in the form of Scholarship Funds.
  • If you choose to travel on an Interfaith Peace-Builder’s Tour and are able to stay beyond the tour dates for at least two weeks as a volunteer, FOTONNA can help pay for partial airfare expenses and for full expenses you would be expected to pay as a volunteer on the land (volunteers help cover the costs of their stay on the farm, including food, laundry, etc.).
  • If you choose to travel on your own, there are funds available to help with your airfare expenses and full coverage of your volunteer expenses; you must make a commitment of at least four weeks, however.
In order to receive this financial support, you must complete an application form and qualify for it.  If you are interested in hearing more details about this, please contact Kay Plitt at:  kay@fotonna.org.
Daoud is also looking for some select skilled workers to volunteer for at least three months at a time; financial support can be made available.  He needs people who can provide the following skills:
  • Farm equipment maintenance (small engine repair, etc.)
  • Kitchen/café maintenance (including cooking)
  • Electrical wiring and maintenance
  • Housekeeping/Gift Shop maintenance
  • Carpentry/Construction/Metal work
  • Farming techniques specific to a dry climate
Volunteer work on the land is hard work.  It is also an incredible way to make a statement about what you feel is important and helps you shape the future of peace in that region of the world.
You can find the report from the Fall 2017 Tour on our FOTONNA website:  Click here
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) co-sponsored this tour, and they put together a short 15 minute video to share.  They are also holding their Annual Advocacy Summit in D.C. in June 2018 called And Still We Rise, inspired by a Maya Angelou poem; it will highlight women peacebuilders in the Middle East.  Registration is available now at:  cmep.org/events/summits.

Museum of the Palestinian People – Bethlehem Beyond the Wall Exhibition:

Daoud’s nephew, Bshara Nassar, is the Founding Director of this 501 (c)(3) non-profit operating out of Washington, DC.  We welcome you to visit this website and find out more about their work and goals for telling the “other side of the story.” There is a matching gift program, up to $25,00.00, taking place through the end of November that would be one way for you to support the extended Nassar family and the efforts to tell the Palestinian story.  Simply go to the website and see how easy it is to do so:  https://mpp-dc.org/donate.
It isn’t often that we reach out and make a financial appeal, but our Fall 2017 Tour didn’t provide us with enough opportunity to raise the usual amount of funds for the Tent of Nations projects.  During 2017, we had a great deal of money given specifically for the planting/maintenance of trees, but we are looking for additional funds in support of the Women’s Education Center in Nahalin and to help cover the expenses for additional Palestinian workers on the farm.  And, if we get a lot of people who would like to volunteer on the land, we may need additional funds to make good on our promise of scholarship funds. There is always a need to cover unexpected projects, also, and as the produce increases, so does the number of jars and bottles and packaging for placing these products in the gift shop for sale. A water shortage this last year also means that Daoud may need to purchase water to add to the cisterns.
Raising funds for Tent of Nations is never the primary goal for Daoud; his purpose is to simply tell the story and make people aware of the situation Palestinians face every day of their lives. The goal of Friends of Tent of Nations North America, however, is to help ensure that the farm stays intact and thriving as a living testament to the power behind “refusing to be enemies” and “seeking peace through a non-violent way of living.” Any amount you can share will be put to good use. A financial report for 2017 will be available by mid-February 2018.  Please see our website for how you can donate either by check or through PayPal.
Thanks to all who have already given their support, and we send you wishes for a fruitful and compassionate Holiday Season from the TON and FOTONNA families!!

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