Impressions of the Local Volunteers 2005



This camp was not like the camps that I have participated in previously. For a Better Future was completely different in a positive way because I was able to see the work of the locals and their cooperation greatly enriched the camp. But it was not just the locals. The internationals also contributed so much in their work with the children and gave a lot of effort.


Although I wasn't able to spend the whole time with the camp as I wished, I still met really great people from different parts of the word. The volunteers were very friendly and I was able to make friendships with them from the first time we met. I feel the same about the local volunteers and I think that the activities enriched their life and experience. Everyone was so friendly and ready to listen to what we were going to teach them. This is what made the camp great.


It was a great opportunity to join the Zajel Camp ďFor a Better FutureĒ and to participate in the yearly festival where a large number of people from all over the world come here, to our beloved Palestine, seeking the truth about what is happening here, trying to help the Palestinians and learning about Palestinian culture and history.


The most valuable thing I came away with is that I can say now that I have friends from all over the world from all nationalities and cultures and that I now know a lot about their customs, language, religion and spirit. I also learned more and more about our Palestinian history through the presentations held during the camp. Not to mention the way I felt towards these nice people with whom my constant interaction broadened my horizons and increased my understanding of people with different views and backgrounds.


The knowledge, friendships and great experiences that I have gained made me wish to attend this wonderful event every year and made me more and more proud to be member of the Zajel team.




I would like to thank everyone who worked on this once in a lifetime experience and gave me the opportunity to participate. I felt that I truly contributed to this work camp and I'm proud to have made it possible. Although this was not my first international work camp, this one was truly special because I was really able to do something for my country, something that I couldn't do through any political means. For the first time I believe that something will take place in reality.


The other thing I gained from this camp, and the only part that I know will last forever, are the friendships I made with the international and local volunteers. In this camp I felt that we were truly treated as the equals of the international volunteers. We were included in the schedule with the internationals and participated in all the work to make this camp possible and this is how I know we were truly friends.


The camp was well-organized and the schedule was well-panned, we were able to show the internationals so much and I hope that the next camp will be the same and much better.



This was the first work camp of my life and I really want to thank Zajel for giving me the chance to take part in it. These 20 days meant a lot for me and gave me more than I expected. The work camp provided me with enough information to defend our Palestine peacefully in diplomatic ways based on just plain truths, now I know how to express my beliefs and how to stand up against the deliberate lies and propaganda that often controls news around the world.


Personally, this camp allowed me to make many friends from different countries and different cultures. Working with them made me more ambitious about our future that is supposed to be better and fairer, Iím really lucky to have met them and Iím sure that they will spread facts about Palestine all over the world.


In Askar-refugee camp I had a great experience. I was very impressed seeing those children still know how to smile from the depth of their hearts despite living in extremely bad conditions. We did many activities that were useful to the children and even to us as volunteers. I can really say that I learned many things that I didnít know when I was a kid and was really satisfied to learn now. I will not hesitate to participate again in the camp next summer, thank you again Zajel for everything.






How to laugh and yet still do serious work at the same time! I think this is one of the most important things that I learned from my participation in this work camp. I have to admit that I learned many new things. I learned how to be a more conscientious person, how to improve my personality and character, how to serve Palestine and how to show people the true picture of the situation here. I also made many new friends from all over the world. In short, I found myself through Zajel's work camps. Really, thank you Zajel.




Three two one, the camp has gone, this is in brief what happened in the previous camp, and all the camps I participated in. Months of preparation and weeks of hard work went into this camp. It took a lot of effort from all of us, but the camp and its results were worth it!


We appreciated the volunteers' braveness in coming here; even though they had better chances in more quiet places, they chose to come to Nablus and see the truth about several things: occupation, Islam, the wall, etc.


I had a great opportunity to create new great friendships that can last forever with people from totally different cultures and circumstances. These friendships gave me self confidence and a great knowledge of other cultures that I donít think I could have learned about without the camp.


It was a great opportunity for all of us to show them a simple part of the truth about Islam, which has been hidden from them for a long time. We were able to show them that Islam is a religion of peace and love. We also gave them a real life example of how three different religions (Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans) can live together peacefully, as they do here in Nablus, and all be united against the occupation.


We met some great internationals who were of Palestinian origins. It was a great opportunity for them to visit their homeland Palestine.


One of the greatest events in the camp was the voluntary work in Askar refugee camp. We all shared in bringing a smile to the kidsí faces, smiles that had been forced to hide because of the invasions, curfews, and other suffering caused by the occupation.


It was a wonderful event in my life and all the volunteersí lives that deserves your attendance here!






It's amazing how close you can get to people in such a short time!, I had three incredible weeks with incredible people who had different religions, cultures, traditions and opinions, but all shared in having loving, caring hearts for Palestine and the Palestinians.


I'll never forget the smile completely illuminate the face of Ameer, a handicapped kid from Askar refugee camp, when he felt the volunteers' care. I will never forget the shouts and laughs of the children running to meet the volunteers at the center's gate and even out into the streets!!


Let me please thank you, my dear international volunteers, because when you were around, the kids had a better life and by your continuous, dedicated work for justice in Palestine they will have a better future.I can summarize the benefits of my experience in this work camp in this brief sentence: I've learned how to be a better person.


The camp has ended, but it's only the beginning!!





I can't decide on which was worse, saying goodbye and the tears or the awkward silence in the taxi all the way back home. Somehow in the past three weeks they've all grown on me. It's hard to imagine how 3 weeks were enough but they turned out to be more than enough.


I kept saying throughout the three weeks how exhausted I'm, how tiring it is to be a camp leader, I felt that I was missing out on stuff and that there was distance between me and the rest of the volunteers. I wished that I could be a normal volunteer again. I was wrong and I really noticed that in the last week, I had the chance to connect with them all on a deeper level, a chance to know them one by one. I got to work with all of them and for that I am really lucky. The camp had a special flavor this year, and we owed it all to the volunteers that came, it wouldn't be the same without them. They were all great people, unique individuals!


Because I was camp leader, I spent all night working on the final presentation. The volunteers worked too hard and I thought they deserved to see the things they've accomplished, the friendships they made. I didn't prepare gifts for everyone this year so somehow the presentation was my gift, my present.


Sometimes during the camp I had to be the authority figure and know I have lots of apologies to give but I'd like to think that all of them would forgive me knowing that I always had the best intentions in mind. I loved every single one of them, I was lucky this year because I think I made 26 new friends. Not volunteers, not contacts, friends and they will stay in my heart never checking out! I can't wait to see them again.


I am so happy and also sad but you could actually see me smiling right now because I can still see flashes of memories that happened while I'm writing this, don't want to stop writing but I guess I have to. I used to say that if you wait, good things will come your way and now I truly believe it. thank you for being part of my life and hopefully you will be there for ever, see you in a better future.



The most wonderful experience I had during this summer was the international work camp. I participated in the camp with spectacular people and exceptional events which made me more aware of western culture and policies, and that happened by meeting other people, international and local people.


This is my first time participating in Zajel's youth exchange summer camp and I hope that it won't be my last. It wasn't only fun, it was also full of duties and hard work. But the duties taught us how to do our work without argument or discussion and strengthened my character. Meeting Alaa', Fawaz and the other Zajel volunteers has changed many aspects of my life and has expanded my knowledge about my city, Nablus, and has given me rich information that I'm learning for the first time.


This extraordinary experience has also changed view of voluntary work and has improved my sense of charity, desire to help needy people, especially children, and my sense of giving without expecting to be rewarded.


I can summarize my impression that by saying that I gained much more than I gave. Thanks a lot for giving me this chance, for great friendship, and for this unforgettable time.