In Lydda / Lod for three weeks one August 1995 I think. Stepping off the plane at Ben Gurion – midnight and as warm as toast (like Bodrum in summer). Minibuses, suitcases and crowds going in multiple directions at once (like Bodrum in summer).
A Palestinian family ran a kindergarten and had requested volunteers to help with a refurbishment – I think there were about 10 of us.
We were staying opposite a minaret so around 4.00 every morning, we all levitated in our sleeping bags before getting up and beginning work.
One of the first jobs I did was help put up barbed wire on the walls. We were amazed by two of our group from Yorkshire with incredible stonewalling techniques who managed to repair parts of missing wall with deft expertise.
I had never plastered walls before so scraped bits of myself initially rather than a smooth coat of white. We had to get plastering and painting done by midday due to the heat of the lunchtime sun.
We had a very talented young painter who did beautiful murals
The local city mayor who was Israeli came to meet the group one day as we were somewhat unusual visitors. Some of our group refused to attend but those who did felt that it was diplomatically useful even in our contexts. I helped out with some letters too on an old typewriter.
After returning to the UK, we managed to start a fundraising campaign – people were very generous and supportive so we managed to get a new computer to our Palestinian family by the end of the year I think. We are no longer in touch as they moved further north probably due to increasing troubles.