Jaffa is a beautiful old port city here in Tel Aviv-Yafo. It is ancient and is famous for its biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and Saint Peter and later, of course, known for its oranges! Modern Jaffa is a melting pot of two cultures – mainly. It is interesting how Jews and Arabs have managed to coexist here…in Jaffa, there are Mosques, Churches and Synagogues. Arab and Jewish owned shops and restaurants.
On slow sunny days, I enjoy exploring the small alleyways of old Jaffa and its ancient buildings, staring at art in one of its many galleries before moving on to craft shops and the beach – which are all approximately 15 minutes walk from the apartment! Jaffa also has the Flea market called ‘Shuk Hapshipushim’ in Hebrew – a word that fascinates me with its sound since first learning it in an ulpan lesson. Here, you can find and buy anything from antiques, rugs, vintage clothes and jewelry to fruits and juice shades. At night, the flea market turns into a small village of little restaurants and bars, my favorite restaurant here is Puaa which serves amazing Mediterranean and middle Eastern Israeli dishes.
There is a fresh produce store near the apartment where I usually buy my fruits and vegetables, they have delicious mangoes, with a sweetness only comparable to the Ugandan mangoes. At this store, I have become friends with the store keepers who always greet me with a big smile. One of the girls sitting behind the counter speaks only Arabic and Hebrew, so whenever I go to buy my produce she talks to me in Hebrew with only a few English phrases here and there. One of the people at the store told me she is trying to learn English so every time I go there I try to speak to her in Hebrew and she attempts the English, who knew a trip to a produce store would turn into a language practice place!
I really can’t believe that I am lucky enough to be living here, in this beautiful place for the next three months.
Sarah Nabaggala, a 26 year old law graduate from Mbale Uganda, is a participant on Tikkun Olam post college program. Each week Sarah will be writing a blog sharing her experiences of what it is like living in Jaffa, volunteering with asylum seekers, refugees and the homeless as well as studying at BINA.