West Bank Village Celebrates New Park
About 50 preschoolers impatiently wait for permission from their teachers to go play in their brand new park. Many try to steal glances inside and can’t conceal their excitement at the sight of a big colorful jungle gym with climbing ladders and slides. Even after a busy school day, they are energized and ready to have fun.
Meanwhile, a troop of boy scouts slowly approaches the park with fluttering Palestinian flags, big drums and proud, broad smiles. The large crowd of villagers and schools kids with balloons gathered next to the park welcomes them with applause.
This is how the people of Abu Falah celebrate the construction of the first family park in their village — with a community festival. Village dignitaries, elders, guests and friends, have all come together to show gratitude to those who made it possible.
Fourth Al Bayyara Builds Community Spirit and Creates Jobs
The park in Abu Falah is one of four in the West Bank constructed with funding from project partners: Bank of Palestine, ANERA, Muna and Basem Hishmeh and United Holy Land Fund. ANERA turns hazardous, rubble-filled lands into safe play areas, where the entire family can unwind and spend time together. Bayyara, which means citrus grove in Arabic, is the name given to this series of parks and playgrounds to be built in the West Bank and Gaza.
Each park creates jobs and improves livelihoods for about 10 local construction workers and craftsmen in villages that suffer from unemployment and economic hardships.
“This whole area was nothing more than a neglected piece of land, endangering the safety of young children who had nowhere else to play,” explains ANERA’s program manager Mazen Dabbagh. “Like all of our parks, it is terraced, gated, landscaped and planted with trees to ensure the kids are both protected and stimulated.”
Finally, as the adults approach for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, the teachers signal for the children to enter the park. Two by two, the little kids proceed into the park in an orderly manner, but their little steps soon turn into leaps as they race to newly installed equipment. The playground immediately comes to life with their laughter and shouts.
Other than the jungle gym, which is always the biggest attraction, the park is equipped with six swings, two seesaws and large sand pits, in addition to several benches, trees and other indigenous plants.
“A successful park is one that swarms with happy kids,” states Mazen.