Walking to Emmaus

by Bandile Vukani Ndaba last modified 27 July 2015 03:44 PM
Walking to Emmaus

Sweden, August 2014, by Bandile Vukani Ndaba.

08 May 2015

At our first meeting in South Africa, a few months before going to Sweden for the first part of the international youth pilgrimage “Walking to Emmaus”, we were exited to meet each other and to know that we would all be going on a plane. It was a first for all of us so I’m sure you would imagine the excitement you could see on our faces going down the terminal and into the aeroplane.

Made it to Sweden and met the other groups from Sweden, Germany and Palestine. It was great because we were all sharing about our experiences in life, faith and learning each other’s languages.

Then it came to this year and we went to Palestine. It’s funny now when I think that we were not as excited as we were going to Sweden.

During our stay in Palestine we had a small glimpse of people’s daily life there. We went through a checkpoint when we were coming from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, as we were in line I could see in the eyes of the Palestinians in our group that they had fear in them, the fear of not being allowed to cross the wall that was put there by the Israelis.

We learnt that there is a refugee camp in Palestine for Palestinians, where they don’t have running water and have to get their water by trucks that bring water and depending on the size of the family they would get water tanks that the government “assumes” will be enough and last.

I believe that this partnership with Sweden, South Africa, and Germany can give Palestinians hope: because South Africa and Germany both have oppressive histories, but their people have come together. It shows that one day Palestine will also have freedom.

There is a thing I loved about all the Palestinians that we met and that is they all have faith and hope that one day they will also have freedom and the wall that brings sadness and anger to them will be demolished.

Throughout the whole project in Sweden and Palestine we had themes for everyday that we focused on and they were:

  • Sustainability- Life giving water
  • Baptism- For life
  • Peace- be the change you want to see
  • Pluralism- same but different
  • Mission- when you need a hand

The themes that we were using, the one that really connected with me and the one I believe connected with the whole project was pluralism: we are all humans, an image of God even though we may have different cultures, language and some different beliefs but we all bleed red.

Our way that we can help Palestine, coming from other counties, and fight with them is by spreading the word on what is really going on there because we went there and saw that we do not just need to believe what the media tell us.

On our daily walks it was hot but there was more than enough water for everyone so luckily there were no serious injuries. Every day we went to a different historical place just to name a few Lake of Galilee, Jordan River, Mountain of Temptation etc. In Sweden we didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone so this trip to Palestine, they changed the walking groups that we were walking in in Sweden and that made it easy for us to get to know everyone.

Walks were great and exiting but when we finally made it to Emmaus it clicked in my head that now this is where our project ends, we have finally walked and made it to Emmaus and now we have to go back to our countries. We are going to depart with all the new friends that we have made during the two weeks that we have spent together.

This whole project meant a lot to me because we went to all the places that we grew up reading about in the Bible and in Sunday school. Actually walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ was an extraordinary experience for all of us and I would like to thank the Church of Sweden for this extraordinary experience, and would like to thank the Palestinians for allowing us in their country, homes and lives.


The impressions, hopes and ideas expressed in this blog are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.

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