Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Gather in the olives

It's time to harvest the olives throughout Palestine and we did a very little bit to help in the village of Burin just south of Nablus.

Other internationals come here to help because Burin and nearby villages are some of the worst affected by violent Israeli settlers who have illegally taken over the hilltops to build new settlements.

Fortunately this season has been fairly quiet but some incidents have been reported.

Such a pity because it is a very tranquil setting with the steep hillsides of the village covered in olive trees which have given a good crop this year.

Mike enjoyed climbing a tree to pick the highest fruits though felt somewhat apprehensive as Bilal started pruning the branches below him (though not the one he was standing on ...).

Picking olives is quite hard work because you have to reach and seek the sparsely arranged fruit and pluck them off mostly individually. So a tarpaulin is spread beneath each tree in turn and the olives are dropped on to this to make it easy to gather them up.

Leaves and rotten fruits are discarded, the best kept for the kitchen and the rest sent to be pressed into olive oil.

The first rains of the season came while we were there. Quite refreshing and in such warm weather you dry out quickly. A bonus is that the dust on the trees is washed off making the picking process more pleasant thereafter.

Meeting Namareq again was a highlight - she visited Dundee in 2005 as part of the twinning delegation and was able to show us her olive trees, her husband and her children.

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