When snow arrived at town….

When snow arrived at town by Cristina Millán from Jerusalem

The Three Wise Kings* brought winter to Middle East, specifically to Palestine. Before January 5th, it had been sunny, no rain, no fog….such a good weather! But that day we woke up in a rainy and foggy day where temperature started to drop. On January 7th, the weather got worse: it was pouring with rain and hailing continuously for the two following days. As a result, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and most of Palestine and Israel were flooded, not only because of the rain but because sewage systems are totally unsuitable, whenever they exist: streets looked like real rivers!

Sometimes I feel that here people only think about a problem: occupation, settlements, the conflict between Israel and Palestine…I know it’s a crucial issue all over the world and especially here, but I think when occupation has existed for over 60 years, it loses its temporary characteristic and, in my opinion, it’s time to start thinking in interventions which are bend on improving territory, human settlements /cities and, definitely, Palestinian lives, such as Urban Planning, Urban Transport or sewage systems. Of course, occupation is a huge problem but after 60 years, cities like Ramallah are not going to change their location or structure; so, in my opinion, it’s time to improve them.

But anyway, when it rains here it seems ‘The Second Universal Flood’ and there is no existing sewage system which solve it 🙂 And due to this fact, on January the 7th (Orthodox Christmas day, by the way), cities got paralyzed: most of the shops were closed as school or public institutions. Most of people didn’t go to work but there have been injured and even some deaths!

That day, together with my flat mate, I went to work from Ramallah to Jerusalem by car and certainly, there were some moments where we were afraid of being swept along by the water currents, especially in the main road near the Qalandia checkpoint, but finally we arrived to work safe and sound!!

However, after two days of heavy rain, hail, floods, gales and thunder storms….finally, yesterday snow arrived at Middle East!! It has been the worst snow storm in 20 years, as some newspapers have published! Therefore, today was a day off: a lost day or Holidays, it depends on each one. But reality is that today, all schools were closed, together with most of roads and highways, even the Jordanian border: we were almost totally isolated due to 15 cm snow layer!! So nobody went to work today and some spent the day taking beautiful pictures of such a winter day!!

Tomorrow life will continue as usual, as if nothing had happen. I only hope that it stops raining, even if a couple of days. It doesn’t matter if there is no sun or low temperature, but I’m really fed up with getting my feet soaked! I’m from La Mancha, a dry region, so that I’m not used to so much rain.

It will be continued 🙂

Footnote: For those who don’t know, the Three Wise Kings is a Spanish tradition which is celebrated the evening on January 5th. According to the catholic tradition, these kings come from East and are supposed to be the same three who gave Jesus Christ gold, incense and myrrh and nowadays, they still continue giving everyone presents during the night on January 6th. It’s a really popular tradition which is celebrated in family in several ways, but everyone has at least a present this day. There is a parade in every city where children can see enjoy Wise Kings and their pages and after it, they spend all the night by going every home and giving presents for everyone.