It was one of the most beautiful, rich and rewarding weeks of my
life. At the end of it, everybody said that he felt that he took
from this camp more than he gave…! So, it was a very giving camp
for all of us in many respects, specially having the chance to
meet so many people coming from different countries and having
different backgrounds and cultures.
When we sat together for lunch, I used to feel we were like a
family…! But I wondered: if we had a problem, would we solve it in
the right way? Or would we behave like a family solving problems
according to the principle: Might is Right… I really wanted to
I met really exceptional people, because coming to Palestine
requires lots of guts and determination, and most of all, it
requires a strong belief in the Palestinian cause.
One of the volunteers said to me: "I feel that I didn't do much
for the children..." And I told him: "Merely your presence is
something for them." So thank you for believing in us, for your
support, for your friendship, and for the unforgettable three
This camp was a wonderful experience for me, meeting new people,
learning their traditions, understanding the way they think and
etc... But it was a chance for us too, to express ourselves, to
help others understand the situation we live in, to get them to
feel it, to get in touch with it so that hopefully they will be
able to judge for themselves.
These past three weeks were more than just a work camp; I
sincerely believe that we've made friends-for-life with all of the
people who participated. Each single one of them left us a lasting
impression about which we will never forget.
So at the end of the camp, they will all return to their countries
with all of their new experiences, saying proudly: “I was in a
work camp in PALESTINE!"
Before Zajel I wasn’t very aware, but now I am very active, very
happy, and very practical at the same time. Now I’m going to
explain my feelings, how I was before and how I am now!
After I met Alaa on the Messenger chat room, and after he
explained the objectives of the Zajel program, I went to Jamela
Buhered School were Zajel organizes the workcamp. I was very
confused at first because it was my first experience of a work
camp. I was introduced to Mira and Yusra who become my new sisters
and after this I met the other guys and girls from our local
volunteers. Then I introduced myself to the international
volunteers, and they did the same to me. After this I discovered
that I was entering a new, nice and interesting world and at the
same time I found that I was carrying out a duty toward my
occupied country, Palestine. This duty is to present to the
internationals a true picture of Palestine and the Palestinians, a
picture which reflects our life and how we are suffering from the
In the work camp I met a new family in the form of the
international and local volunteers who shared everything with me.
In fact, the experience of the voluntary work is still in my mind,
and it will stay there forever, because it represents a new phase
for me, a stage in which I realized the real situation for those
kids who are deprived of the simplest essentials of life.
I learned how I can bring a smile to the face of a small child who
is trying to understand the meaning of freedom and help him to
engage in hobbies which the occupation has deprived him/her of,
such as drawing, painting, singing and playing.
All of this makes me feel more strongly about my duty to our
Palestinian cause, and I want to say thanks to everybody who
helped me and thanks to everybody who shared with us this great
This was my first
experience of a work camp. I was very happy when my sister told me
I had been accepted as one of the local volunteers. This gave me
the confidence that I could do something in the camp and give
something to society and the people in Asker refugee camp, and
that I could find new friends from different countries which I
dream to visit some day.
The camp taught
me how to deal with the problems I face and to accept orders from
my leader. I learned the principle that says: implement then
discuss. It was an important step in my life which taught me to be
responsible toward my society and in particular Asker refugee camp
where the camp was held.
I worked with
disabled children and I was very sad when I saw the difficulties
they have to face. I wish them a normal life and to live like
everyone else. To all the volunteers, believe me I love you all, I
miss all of you and I hope to see you soon in sha’a Allah.
It is a great feeling you get through participating in voluntary
work-camps, when you touch the pain of people directly as well as
the the miserable life they live. When you see the tears in their
eyes as they try to say thank you, just then you recognize that
you did something good and it gives a great feeling of
When I participated in Zajel, I had the idea that our duty was to
welcome our friends, who knew about our just cause and had come
here to help us, and to enable them to see the facts with their
Just a few days after the beginning of the work-camp, that “duty”
became more like a lesson for me. I had been feeling the pain and
humiliation of the Israeli occupation exactly like others, but
after the facts which I discovered during our visits to the old
city of Nablus as well as the refugee-camps, and the conversations
which we had with the people who had lived through “The Nakba”,
the catastrophe, I realized how selfish I was, and how important
it is to understand the pain of others.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t judge other people badly. They may
not have the right idea about what’s going on in Palestine, they
may not even hear about us because our enemy tries to hide the
facts, so we have to fight in that area to make our rights both
clear and understandable for other people, to make international
public opinion support our case.
Finally I owe Zajel and all of its members my new character which
has been enhanced through Zajel’s activities.
This was my first international work camp. This means that it was
the first time I was able to meet volunteers from different
countries and cultures, and so one of the advantages was to know
all these volunteers and to have some new and good friends.
Another advantage was to let these volunteers see that we are
people under occupation and we are struggling for our freedom, and
that our rights are supported by the UN decisions.
We also had an opportunity to tell them the truth about our
religion (Islam), and that it encourages the spreading of peace
and love between people all over the world. We showed them an
example in our city where people of three different religions
(Islam, Samaritan and Christian) can live together and love each
All these things together and a lot more, made this summer camp a
great event in my life that deserves your participation!
I was very impressed with my experience of the camp. I learnt many
things about other cultures which made me change my views about
people. I also had the chance to tell others about our culture and
It was the first time I had participated in such a work camp. I
improved my English and my character became stronger. It was very
interesting, especially when we went to Askar to play with the
children. I understood how deep their suffering is but they always
smile to overcome their suffering, to show people they can still
live. I loved those children; they were always coming to me and
touching my hands. I will do my best to meet them again to show
them that we still remember them even if the camp has finished
One day I went with other volunteers to visit some refugees to
listen to their stories: how they were deported in 1948, lost
their children and many other painful things. I felt upset and
concerned, but I want to tell them that the day will come when
they will go their real homes and the sun will rise.
In general these were three of the best weeks of my life and I
met many exceptional people. So, thank you very much, thank you
for being here, even for that small period of time. Your presence
here meant a lot to us; to know that there are people who share
our suffering and provide us with hope that tomorrow may be better
It was a wonderful experience to be a participant in the work
camp, especially as it was a melting pot for locals and
What distinguished the camp is that it was held during the Israeli
imposed curfew on Nablus which put the camp in a challenging
atmosphere (to be or not to be). Thank god all participants were
steadfast enough to continue running their activities fervently.
This experience can be summarized into three things: cultural and
civilization exchange, correct behaviors, and the desire to give.
One important thing I have added to my experince is how to deal
with people of different cultural backgrounds and customs, how to
interact with them without hurting somebody’s feelings or norms. I
also reinforced my English language and conversational skills
during the talks I had with the participants.
It is not an exaggeration to say that I felt very good when I
contributed to bringing a smile to the faces of the Askar Refugee
Camp children; how nice my feeling was when I felt that I was
participating in changing for a few hours the sorrow, sadness and
stress the children live in into happiness and enjoynment.
And last but not least, I would like to thank all the participants
for being so nice, kind and hardworking. To those who still do not
have the chance to be here in Palestine, I think it is an inviting
experience. Do not miss it.
I spent a beautiful time in this camp and I learnt many things
that I didn't know before.
I was introduced to new cultures such as the American one that I
never knew anything about, and now I'm thinking of visiting it to
know more about it. Not only the United States but also Britain
which I always dreamed of visiting and now this camp allowed me to
have friends from Britain, Italy and many other countries.
Also, this camp taught me the importance of friendship; it's the
most important thing that a person can have in his life. Asker
Refugee Camp also gave me the chance to know new people and new
friends. It was tiring work but the children’s faces and their
smile made us forgot that we were tired.
My favorite corner was counseling I enjoyed working there with
German. He has a special way of dealing with children and I think
that we gave them in this corner some things that they were in