National Geographic : 1964 Dec
that! A friend suggested that we solve the problem by giving me an Arabic name. "Why not take my wife's name-Afifi?" he said. So I became Sitt (Lady) Afifi. All went well until one day a girl told me that things were being stolen from the lock ers. I called the girls together and told them how distressed I was. I then had locks and keys made. For a while we had no further trouble, but then the stealing began again. Once more I lectured the girls and said that it was obvious that somebody must have a key that fitted more than one lock. Each must give me her key, so that I could find out who it was. One by one they handed over their keys all save one who hung back, scowling. Finally she, too, came up to my desk, but instead of laying down her key she flung it full in my face, gashing my cheek. Without thinking, I retaliated by giving her a resounding slap. It was a terrible moment. Under Turkish rule, cruel physical punishments were inflict ed for the smallest offense, and the first law I had made when we started the school was that there be no beating or slapping. Now I had broken my own rule. There was a breathless hush in which I stood aghast at what I had done. The girl who had thrown the key stood apprehensive ly apart, certain that some terrible punish ment was in store. After a moment I realized that I must apologize. I read the rule aloud, and then said that I was in the wrong. I had made the rule and I had broken it. Would they forgive me? They listened incredulously. For someone in authority to ask forgiveness of them was unthinkable. Then the offending girl burst into tears and, rushing forward and kissing my hand, confessed that she was the thief. We never again had any trouble of that sort. Tragedy Reaffirms Belief in Evil Eye One difficulty of social work in this part of the world was the iron grip in which super stition held the people, dominating them with unnatural taboos and fears. One of the strong est superstitions was belief in the power of the "evil eye," the eye of envy. My campaign to destroy this superstition suffered a sad setback in 1898, the year Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany visited Jerusalem. The education minister decided that one of my pupils should present to Kaiserin Augusta Victoria a piece of embroidery made in the school. At once there was consternation, for naturally the chosen girl would be the center 834 Finger cymbals tinkling, a village dancer welcomes Mrs. Vester to a banana plantation owned by a sheik of the Adwan, the Bedouin tribe that adopted her as a girl. Stone dwell ings replace tents of the once-nomadic Adwan.