For those who don’t know me, I currently live and work in Yosemite National Park. During the government shutdown I didn’t have to leave the park, so I had the whole park to myself, and I took full advantage of it! There were no tourists, hardly any rangers, it was just me and my fellow employees. The first day of the shutdown Melissa and I hiked to the top of Yosemite Falls and went to Eagle Peak to Camp.
1. West Bank: Hyatt (left) recently took a yoga lesson from a visiting American yoga instructor. She is now teaching the young residents of her village, Zataara, a small village on the outskirts of Bethlehem in the West Bank. The women are increasing in number each week—and they say it is proving to be the ultimate release. 2012
2. West Bank: Students from the Al-Quds University javelin team wrap up the last practice before summer vacation in the West Bank city of Abu Dis, next to the Israeli Separation Wall. 2013
3. Gaza: A toy store van drives along Gaza’s beach high way. 2013
4. Gaza: A woman plays with two baby lion cubs born in the Rafah Zoo. Gaza once had six zoos, but two were closed due to financial losses and the deaths of large animals. Gazan zoo keepers are renowned for creativity in limited options, having famously painted a donkey as a zebra, smuggling in animals in the tunnels, and stuffing them once they are dead as animals are not easy to replace. 2013
5. At the Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank, accompanied by a sheep for the Eid celebration, a young man enjoys a cigarette on the last evening of Ramadan.
6. Teenage girls try on dresses for an upcoming dance at their private school in Ramallah.
7. 14 year old Sabah Abu Ghanim, Gaza’s famous girl surfer, waits to catch a wave.
8. Family and friends play cards on the roof in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp of Bethlehem. With narrow streets and limited space, the roof is often a refuge for many families to sit together and enjoy the breeze.
9. A boy attempts to bathe a reluctant donkey in the ocean on the outskirts of Gaza’s Deir al-Balah refugee camp.
10. West Bank: A Palestinian youth from Hebron enjoys a swim in Ein Farha, considered to be one of the most beautiful nature spots in the entire West Bank. It, like many other nature reserves and heritage sites in the West Bank, is managed by the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority.