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MA Mother and Daughter Back from the Middle East

April 17, 2007

A delegation of women is back in the U.S. after a week-long trip to the Middle East, and they're now sharing first-hand knowledge in Massachusetts. Among the 10 women were a mother and daughter from the Bay State. Linda Mason, vice chair of Mercy Corps and her daughter Farrell Mason-Brown, an 18 year-old senior at Concord Academy, went to Jerusalem, the West Bank, Jordan, and Lebanon. Linda Mason says everywhere they went, people wanted the same things we want here in the U.S.

"They just wanted peace, security, jobs, some economic opportunity, and they wanted their children to be able to go to school."

The group met mostly with families and Mercy Corps beneficiaries in the Middle East.

Mason notes there are a lot of myths about the region that didn't hold true during her visit. She says she never felt in danger, and she didn't see an anti-American attitude in the people she met.

"There was just a real warmth and outreach to us as American citizens. I think there's a real distinction made between U.S. government policy and American citizens."

Farrell Mason-Brown led the youth delegation, and spent some time with younger people in the region. She detailed what she learned in a blog while traveling. She'll now spend some time teaching what she learned to her peers at school.

"It's not even like I know exactly what's going on, but just like educating yourself and promoting education of these really complicated issues instead of just accepting what we hear as the truth."

Kevin Clay/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MA