We have promised to keep all of you who have shown enthusiastic support for Tent of Nations updated on what’s been happening since Daoud Nassar’s initial visit in November/December 2007. With that in mind, we can truly say that more progress than we had hoped for has taken place over just a few short months. With the knowledge that your financial help is on the way, the Nassar family’s long-term vision of hope for the future is not just a dream written on paper – it is ‘reality happening’ even as you read this update.
Thanks to the support of hundreds of FOTONNA members and that of other international groups, Tent of Nations has begun work on several critical projects at Daher’s Vineyard, which is located about six miles southwest of Bethlehem. Much remains to be done, however, and more funds will be needed over the next few years as programs expand and infrastructure needs continue to grow. Program and infrastructure are inseparably connected as Daoud and his family members pursue their vision for peace and coexistence. Here is an update on progress and current needs:
- New Generator – With funds collected since his visit in November, Daoud has been able to purchase a new generator (quieter, more efficient, higher capacity) that will be online by April 1.
- Solar Power – A European company has donated solar panels (with free installation) which will enhance energy independence. Energy generated by these solar panels will be highly economical, and Tent of Nations will become a demonstration model for the use of environmentally friendly technology. There are plans for a vocational school located at Tent of Nations to teach young people how to become self-sufficient farmers.
- Cistern – An additional cistern is urgently needed; however, the Nassars have not been able to hire a backhoe operator to begin the job. The Israeli authorities have been confiscating heavy equipment used in area C building projects, so no contractor has been willing to take on the job. The Nassars must have more water; agriculture (including the continuation of the all-important tree-planting drive), volunteer labor, cooking and hygiene depend on it. FOTONNA is initiating a one-time-only drive to help the Nassars purchase a good used backhoe to meet this urgent need. We need to raise $15,000 within the next couple of weeks. Several individuals are offering adollar-for-dollar match up to $7,500. If you can take advantage of this opportunity to ensure the success of thisone-time request, please send your donation as soon as possible directly to: Kay Plitt, Director of Finance – 5621 N. 9th Road – Arlington, VA 22205. Make the check out to: FOTONNA and designate it for the purchase of a backhoe. The continuation of all of Tent of Nation’s programs depends on the success of this drive!
- Women’s Education Center – Forty women from the neighboring village of Nahalin have signed up for thecomputer, crafts and English classes being offered by Tent of Nations. Since only 20 were expected, they were very pleased with the response. This is a testament to the success of the Nassar’s outreach to the neighboring village communities and the great desire for education among the women of the village. The Nassars are facing increased costs for additional space and supplies.
- Olive Trees – Daoud, with the help of many volunteers (plus your donations), was able to purchase and plant over 400 young olive trees. This is an arduous process, and it is a true act of faith, as it can take from 15-20 years before these trees begin to bear fruit. Maximum cultivation of the land is essential for economic survival and to protect the land from confiscation. Planting trees is a powerful sign that there is still hope for peace and justice. Tree planting is an act of solidarity and a very effective way to bring people together – Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals. Every $10 sponsors one tree.
- Volunteers – Tent of Nations has been flooded with volunteers! The word is spreading around the globe. People from everywhere are hungry for something concrete to do in support of Peace with Justice. The Nassars have completed improvements to their kitchen facilities and are making renovations to an existing building to accommodate additional volunteers who make long-term commitments to work on the land. More volunteers mean greater needs for food and water, however. We need to see that they are fed and housed adequately in return for their hard work. It costs $600+ a month to feed and house a volunteer on the land. Costs this summer are expected to be particularly high because of the children’s programs.
- Summer Youth Camps – Plans are in full swing for the Children’s Music Festival which will take place this July! Children from the neighboring villages, Bethlehem and the West Bank are coming, and there will be an influx of volunteers in the arts from Europe and the US to participate in this exciting event. In addition, Tent of Nation’sregular summer day camp program in collaboration with local schools and churches continues. Costs for food and materials are estimated at $250 per child for the two-week camp.
EUROPEAN TOUR AND UPCOMING RETURN VISIT TO THE USA
- In addition to visits to the United States, Daoud has just completed a very successful two-week visit to Germanywhere he spoke at schools and churches and met with people at the company which is providing the solar panels. He had an enthusiastic reception, just as he did here, and it is good to know that Tent of Nations has support from others around the world
- Finally, Daoud Nassar will be in the United States again for The June 2008 USA Daoud Nassar Tour! FOTONNA will be sponsoring this trip, and he and his wife, Jihan, will be visiting sites in Ohio and the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Specific dates and places will be announced as plans are confirmed. We hope all of you will be able to attend at least one of his presentations.
HOW YOU CAN HELP?
Current Members – It is truly exciting to have all of you current FOTONNA members as a part of this international show of support for hope in the face of great obstacles – hope for the future – hope for smiles on the faces of children and laughter in their voices – hope for dreams come true. Your past support has been most welcome; however, in order to keep that hope alive, and because all of these projects are long-term, the work of FOTONNA and Tent of Nations will be ongoing for many years. We need your future support, also. If you are able to make a commitment to a monthly, quarterly, or annual donation that we can count on and plan around, that would be wonderful! Please continue in this endeavor to bring light to this 100-acre farm filled with big hopes and big hearts and great love by using the link provided below.
New Members – To learn more about FOTONNA and Tent of Nations, please go to www.fotonna.org. To join FOTONNA, simply click on the link provided below. It is very easy to become a part of a growing movement that will provide so much personal satisfaction as you watch the seeds of peace grow – and grow – and grow.
MANY THANKS FROM:
FOTONNA STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
PERSONAL THANK YOU FROM DAOUD:
We are glad to see the work of the Tent of Nations growing and bearing fruits. We want the Tent of Nations to be a light and a sign of hope for the ones who are losing their hope for a better future. It is wonderful to have Friends of Tent of Nations who are sharing the same vision with us and supporting the work we are doing. Thank you for your support, for keeping the spirit of the Tent of Nations high and for keeping hope alive. It is a big encouragement for the Tent of Nations to feel the support of people all over the world. Thank you all for this solidarity.