Abdi, our Old City guide in Jerusalem.
We met him at the corner of Via Dolorosa as we were trying to orient ourselves. We were initially afraid of being over-charged by a guide that didn’t know much, but he quickly won our confidence and told us he had been guiding people most of his life, and “it really doesn’t matter what you pay me.” As we toured the 14 Stations of the Cross, he told us he was 70 years old, a retired elementary teacher and, it turns out, a Muslim who lived in the neighborhood all his life. “You’ve seen a lot of changes here,” I said. “Can you remember 1948…or 1967?” He sidestepped the intense political issues and said he was a small child in 1948 and wasn’t much aware of politics. After his informative four-and-a-half-hour tour, the ATM for some mysterious reason wouldn’t let me take out shekels. We told him we’d have to walk back to our residence to get him cash. “Don’t do that now,”he said. “Go have a nice lunch.” He gave us 150 shekels (about $43), a generous amount for nice lunch, and agreed to meet later for payment. How’s that for TRUST? Or at least a Good Samaritan.