Abu Rami

Every time I visit the OneVoice office in Ramallah, I am happy to meet my colleagues who are so talented, hard-working, courageous, and committed to our shared mission – really an exceptional bunch.

Every time I visit the office after an absence of a week or more, I am greeted by kisses by the men, not by the women.  And depending on the village or city that each person comes from, I get two, three – or, in the case of Abu Rami, FOUR kisses – one cheek, then the other, then again the first one, then again the other.

Abu Rami comes from a small village and does not speak English.  He is the office’s janitor and jack-of-all trades, and he comes from a very humble background, so I make a particular effort to connect to him.

Abu Rami always offers me “babounish” to drink – chamomille tea – and he sincerely gets hurt if I don’t take him up, so I always have to be prepared for Babounish, a few times a day.

In our own way we’ve developed a warm relationship, and he seems to get particularly excited and proud when he sees me leading a meeting.

Last Thursday there was a lot of movement in the office because the OneVoice staff from Gaza had come to visit with their colleagues in Ramallah, something which is hard to organize, so we took advantage of the opportunity to do some in-depth strategic planning.

Abu Rami is modest and reserved in general.  He self-selected to appropriate a tiny closet into his mini-office, where he tends to do small chores when no other task is needed.  This happens to have been located right across from where I was seating, and I found it particularly charming that Abu Rami kept smiling and winking at me from within his tiny “office” throughout the staff meeting – so I couldn’t resist and I took a picture – which delighted him even further.

Can you find him? (you may want to click on the picture and zoom in)

Abu Rami behind the scene

Just in case you want to meet him more formally, here is a picture of the charismatic and sweet Abu Rami in his “office” (a lot of the boxes you see behind him are filled with OneVoice Mandates filled out by signatories and Citizen Negotiators, which we keep in their original form for auditing purposes):

Abu Rami in his “office”

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