“The museum will be a source of social development for the local population”: this is one of the goals set by the former Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa (currently the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) when the project of the Terra Sancta Museum was presented in Jerusalem in 2013.
So it was for Rozan and Dima, two 27-year-old girls working with great passion and enthusiasm at Terra Sancta Museum.
Both come from the most important places of the life of Jesus: one from Jerusalem and the other from Bethlehem. Everyday, they welcome the many pilgrims and tourists who enter the Monastery of the Flagellation and visit the multimedia museum “Via Dolorosa”, before they start the Via Crucis and head to the Holy Sepulcher. They both know different languages and speak a perfect Italian since they both have studied in Milan. Dima studied Languages and International Relations, while Rozan studied Educational Sciences.
“I had a very difficult childhood” says Rozan, “it was full of pain and with many privations. I felt a great emptiness that I filled with anger and mistakes, and a false good life. Then, thanks to some friends, I had the opportunity to start a new chapter in my life, to study and to go to Italy… Association pro Terra Sancta is like a family for me, it gave me the opportunity to work, and also made grow as a person. Here at Terra Sancta Museum, for example, I found out that I really like help the children discover their heritage and their history. This is an activity that almost no one does in this land. As a result today I feel safer and also that people are proud of me. I want every child to experience the same”.
Dima, has been working here for less time. At the same time she is still studying lyrical at the Magnificat Institute of the Custody of the Holy Land. Since she was little she had the opportunity to travel abroad. “I like to discover everything! ‘it’s beautiful to discover new things’, my mother has always told me, and I always tried to learn and to understand everything I saw. So after studying tourism at the University of Bethlehem, I went to Italy. Then I left again for an Erasmus in Spain, then France and Portugal. Now I want to give my contribution here. Al-ḥamdu lillāh (thanks to God)”.
They both talk about how nice it is to work with the Franciscans of the Custody, especially with the Director of the Museum, Fr. Eugenio Alliata who helped them to get to know the history of the place. “I like to help the pilgrims who come to pray and occasionally ask me for information, it’s like helping them to follow physically, the steps of Jesus” Dima says.
In the future Rozan would like to work with children in the archaeological section of Terra Sancta Museum, and Dima is looking forward to doing more and more for this place, for herself and for his land . “Maybe one day I will become an ambassador”, she says finally, “but for the time being I’m here and I want to do my best for this place!”