Life In A Druze Village

by - 3:21 PM



Yes, by 'the people', I mean the local people. I love meeting fellow travelers, but the most important thing for me is to create opportunities for myself to step out of my comfort zone and to befriend the actual people who live where I am passing through.

At the moment, I am living with a local family in the Druze village of Peqi'in in northern Israel. I truly thank God for answering my prayer and placing me with the best family anyone could possibly ask for. When I arrived two days ago, I went to the home of the Saleem family. I was welcomed by a lovely lady named Afifa.

It is difficult to describe the way the families here live and organise their homes. Most families are huge. They all live together in the same building. The family has a two storey home. I am staying in the second floor with Afifa and her parents. On the ground floor, Afifa's brother Orwa, and his wife Nabila, live with their two sons Nayif and Marwan. They are an absolutely gorgeous family. I soon found out to my delight that Afifa's father is the renowned Druze poet, Nayif Saleem. On the second floor, where I am staying with Afifa and her elderly father and mother, there are three small living room spaces. One of the living rooms has two walls filled with Arabic literature. Afifa enthusiastically tried to explain to me in halting English that her father, Nayif Saleem (who was listening in smilingly - although he spoke no English) has written thirteen poetry books in Arabic. He is well-known in the region as a poet (or mishorer in Hebrew). He writes about peace, justice, war, family, and many other poignant topics. I felt so privileged to have the chance to live with family of such prestigious background!

The home is beautiful and clean. The ground floor is a little more modern because Orwa and his family with teenage sons live there. The floor I am living on, belongs to Nayif Saleem and his wife. The walls are filled with quaint all photo frames and collected art work over the years. The furniture is old, but very Middle-Eastern and Turkish in style - which I love! I have to share Afifa's room, but we both have our own single beds. I am so grateful that she is willing to take me in. It is a simple, plain room - very old, but I am just glad for a place to rest my head and share it with someone who has lived a totally different life to mine!

The toughest thing I am feeling quite overwhelmed by is the fact that no one here speaks good English. At all. So communication is quite a challenge. But I fervently thank God for Google translate! It has also been the reason for many moments of laughter and hearty hilarity shared between me and the villagers (and their family members) as we try to use Google translate to get our thoughts across!

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Welcome to my wayfaring world of stories. My name is Janielle and I’m a traveling musician and music educator based in Melbourne. Join me on my quest to embrace people of peace in tough places, inspire creative education where none exists, spark spiritual conversations that challenge the status quo, and collaborate with like-minded young people to catalyze a mission of peacemaking through acts of compassion and creativity among the young and free. As a nomad at heart, my ‘home’ is wherever I journey with people on the ground and discover life on the frontiers.