Lamar Guesthouse – On November 17th I visited the Lamar Guesthouse in the northern section of Hebron. I was driven through the Palestinian countryside from Beit Sahour to Hebron. After about a thirty minute drive, the taxi driver stopped by the entrance gate to the Lamar guesthouse.
I climbed the flights of steps which lead to a wide pavilion at the side of a large stone building. There were several doors and I wished there were a sign that said”Office” or “Main Entrance” or something to indicate where I should enter and announce my presence. I am accustomed to finding an office entrance where I can register as a guest. I finally noticed an open door and hesitantly enter, finally relieved to see someone about the place. A young Palestinian woman, who I later learned was a long-term guest, greeted me. She rose from working on her laptop to find and bring a woman who she referred to as “Auntie”, who brought me a key to my room. “Auntie” left the common room but soon returned with cups of Arabic coffee for me and the other guest, and said she would make me a bit of supper. I later learned the woman’s name is Amira. I wished she had a name tag, as I would have felt very disrespectful not to call her by her proper name!
Refreshed by the coffee, I was able to look around a bit. The rooms were spacious, clean and very welcoming; the common room was comfortable and had a doorway leading to a small balcony which overlooked the city. Later I discovered a similar balcony in the room assigned to me for the night. I had learned prior to coming that the building had been renovated for use as a guesthouse by the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee. The atmosphere of the place gave me a sense of the history, not only of the building, but also of the area of the town where I was visiting.
I was then invited by my hostess, Amira, to come to the kitchen for supper. She set before me cucumbers and tomatoes, humus and bread, and hot tea. As she stepped back from the table, her sense of hospitality, generosity, and graciousness were strongly evident. When I invited her to sit and eat with me there were only the two of us in the small kitchen and it seemed obvious to me that she should partake as well, she seemed hesitant, as if it were not her place to eat with the guests. I encouragingly invited her again, and I was glad she joined me at the table! By eating together we were able to visit and get to know each other a bit and share stories about our families, our interests, and jobs we had done.
After supper we stood together on the wide veranda overlooking the city by night. Areas and neighborhoods were pointed out to me as well as some of the current history of the city. I was very eager to hear the stories from a woman who had lived there all her life. The sleeping room was very lovely and comfortable and I enjoyed the view from the balcony as I mused over my experiences before going to sleep that night.
The following morning I enjoyed a hearty breakfast while visiting with some of the other guests who seemed as comfortable there as I felt, and I glad to have an opportunity to visit with strangers who had become new friend – a true mark of the spirit of hospitality! By staying at the Lamar Guesthouse I not only had a comfortable place to spend the night, but also had the chance to meet new people, experience Palestinian hospitality and learn more about the rich culture and heritage of this county I am visiting. I am glad I had the opportunity to stay at Lamar guesthouse and will certainly recommend it to others who might be visiting Hebron.