A group of 12 walkers took to the Abraham Path this past month on a trip co-organized by Leeds Metropolitan University and the UK Friends of Abrahamâ€™s Path. The students, led by Leeds Professor Max Farrar, UK Friends Chair Louise Sibley and longtime Abraham Path trip leader Daniel Adamson, braved the summer heat to walk the Abraham Path; visit places like Bethlehem, Taybeh, Kufr Malek, Jericho, Wadi Auja & Wadi Qelt, Jerusalem, Hebron, and the Negev desert; volunteer at community development projects at both the Tent of Nations and Har Amasa villageâ€¦and, naturally, indulge in a dip in the Dead Sea.
â€œIf you have the chance to experience the Abraham Path, then I would say DO IT! Having gone to experience the culture, history, people and views in the historic land that Israel and Palestine cover, the trip exceeded my expectationsâ€¦ and I went with high ones!
As Dan mentioned to us we were â€˜more than touristsâ€™- we were not being â€˜busedâ€™ from place to place- we were walking from point A to point B and, at many times, on the path. The fact that we were walking allowed us glimpses into the intimacies of everyday lives that ordinary tourists would whiz by in a taxi or coach â€“ children playing in the street, farmers herding their goats, women knitting outfits to sell to their friends.
Walking the Abraham Path allows you to really see Palestine and Israel and interact with the people living there. Though it is such a fought-over part of the world, it is now part of my job to spread how welcoming, wonderful and beautiful those areas are.
For now my physical journey on the path may be over, but the experiences and emotions from it will impact me and my own personal path from now on. And I WILL return to walk on the Abraham Path again.â€ â€“ Matthew
In April the group rappelled (abseiled) down the side of a building on the Leeds campus in order to raise funds for the community development projects they would visit on their 2-week trip to the region in July. The group will reunite back in the UK later this year for a hike to thank the UK Friends for their sponsorship and, with that hike, try to raise some funds for the next youth group to go.
â€œLiterally a few hours into the journey I was able to experience genuine hospitality for the first time, when I was invited by a local shop owner to have a cup of tea with him and we sat down to talk for a whileâ€¦Many hospitable encounters would follow along the way and, for me, those unprecedented moments of hospitality towards a stranger; the beautiful, scenic hikes enriched by our guidesâ€™ great knowledge of flora, fauna and history of the area; and, of course, the amazing food made this an unforgettable journey along the Abraham Path â€“ a journey that has only just begun.â€ - Felix
Photos by trip participants- Felix Bieler, Noushin Aslam, and Nathalia Azevedo