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Notes from a Road Nerd: Israel

LeAnn Boucher

Our own Owen Matthews has left on a jet plane to teach an iOS class to Palestinian developers in the West Bank with one of our favorite non-profits, MercyCorps. Their mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

Owen will send us notes from the road, which we will share with you!

Sept. 26 at 7:40 p.m.

The sunset looks beautiful from the windows of Atlanta’s brand-new International Terminal F. All of the lights around the airport are on—taxiways, runways, aircraft, ground vehicles. Airports feel like completely different places to me at night. I’m plugged into a power post and sitting a chair fashioned from what seems to be recycled rubber. (It’s remarkably comfortable.) I’m taking a break from reviewing the iOS materials I’ll be teaching starting Saturday.

I have never been east of Germany. Israel/Palestine is going to be unlike any other travel I’ve done. That makes me excited. Having seen so much about that whole region of the world on the news and read about it in books and newspapers, I’m surprised at how little I truly know about what to expect. I do know that being there is always different than experiencing things secondhand.

Teaching is always a challenge, and teaching across cultures will add to the difficulty. It’s also rewarding, and I expect the cross-cultural nature will also bring me greater rewards. My primary goal is to make sure I squeeze every drop of opportunity out of this trip that I can—for the benefit of the Palestinian developers, for MercyCorps, and for my own.

Sept. 28.

I’m rested up and mostly time-adjusted; the flight was actually long enough that somehow my days wrapped around completely and I caught up with myself after going through the trans-oceanic warp tunnel. I’m sitting in a very luxurious apartment on a main street in Jerusalem, courtesy of a friend of a friend, doing more preparation for tomorrow’s teaching. Here are a few photos from my trip:

Owen Talmud

The gentleman in front of me, just outside the frame to the left, was studying when he wasn’t sleeping. (Note: no seat directly in front of me—exit row—meant comfortable legs.)

Owen airport

Ben Gurion International. Never seen airport architecture quite like this. My ramp led from the arrivals down to customs. The other ramp must’ve headed from checkin to departures.

Up next

Owen starts teaching in Ramallah Saturday (Sept. 29). We’ll update the Big Nerd Blog with his observations. If you have questions for him, post them here and we’ll get the answer!

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