Samia Abu ‘Alqam Shawafta, 51, is the first woman to drive a transport bus in East Jerusalem.
Samia was born in Venezuela to Palestinian parents who had moved to South America during the Colonial British Mandate. In 1992, she visited Jerusalem for the first time; she was 19 years old. Up until that visit, she had not imagined that her life course would dramatically change and that she would live all her adult life outside of Venezuela. “I fell in love with Jerusalem from the very first day, and my love for the city still runs strong,” she explains sweetly in a thick Arabic accent. During that visit, her cousin was smitten with her, and the two got married within a year. They established their family (one daughter and two sons) in Shu‘fat, Jerusalem—the place she calls home.