In a way it is not a new scene for me, making my way through airports with a group of teens heading somewhere. While I am just getting to know this group, the familiarity of the setting is both comforting and invigorating. And yet, there is a sense of something different … awaiting the group this morning at DIA was a professional photographer who was, well, uh ‘donated’ to the trip, and will be traveling with us and documenting what we do and where we go. He assures me that it will take no time for us to forget he is there snapping photos or taking video of us. Then there is the phone call to my co-chaperone from a news anchor from Channel 1 IN Israel who would like to do a story about the group and the trip after we arrive. So, beyond the familiarity there is a sense of something unique and possibly even extraordinary.
I sense the group, too, is a bit unsure about what will transpire in the next 13 days. They have been studying, analyzing and discussion the situation in Israel for the past school year. They are familiar with one another, some more than others, but perhaps more in the way of sharing a ‘class’ and less so in the way of sharing ‘experience.’ So, between being on the cusp of sharing an ‘experience’ AND then taking the theoretical, abstract, intellectual and even emotional discourse that they have shared in the past year about Israel, Palestine, Jews, Arabs and Christians and putting themselves WITHIN all of it … is an unknown, but provocative variable.
I think we are all excited to see what encounters and experiences the trip holds for us.