Reflections of International Volunteers

 

Liam, Scotland

 

This was my first trip to Palestine, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. My trip here with Zajel has left me with many fun and fond memories. I will always remember the nights spent talking with friends over Argila, dancing Dabka (or at least trying to) and eating so much kanafa it felt like my insides were turning into cheese. There’s been many a time when the local volunteers considered our behavior strange, but we all managed to mix our cultures and beliefs really well and have a fantastic time together. So many amazing people and such fun times.

 

 

Adam, UK

 

It would be impossible to describe the overwhelming range of emotions I have experienced during my time here, from the humbling sensations of teaching English to the children of Askar and their eagerness to learn, to the genuine warmth of the local volunteers. This is why it was so hard to witness the perpetual, unjust treatment of the Palestinian people. This final point has made me determined in my resolve. For this is not the end but the beginning. It is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. For when I return home I want to shout from the tallest tower to every neighbor and every stranger the plight of the Palestinian people. Hopefully we can look for a brighter future, together.

 

 

Andreas, Austria

 

The last three weeks had a big impact on me. Beautiful city, lovely people, never-ending support and help from the local volunteers and great meals. There is a big difference from watching the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on TV and meeting Palestinian locals here in Nablus. I had a lot of fun times with both the local and international volunteers. Thank you so much for letting me has the experience in this year’s work camp. I loved sharing our cultures and different lifestyles.

 

 

Isabel, Liverpool

 

Before coming to Palestine, my only images were of occupation and desperation. While I have come to understand the true extent of the occupation on daily Palestinian life I have also become aware of a great spirit among the people of Nablus. The local volunteers along with the children of Askar arrived at the camp everyday with such happiness and were so positive about everything they did. Thanks to the efforts of all the organizers, we were able to see so many different things in the short time we were here. As a result I will leave the camp with many new friends and an overwhelming solidarity with the people of Palestine.

 

 

Anais, USA

 

“I can’t wait to go back home and present the side of the Middle East that Americans endlessly fail to see.”

 

 

Jetske, the Netherlands

 

It was all different than I expected (on the most positive way imaginable), Sitting on the balcony talking about non-sense, culture, and politics while smoking argila is something I will miss very much. I know it sounds corny but being here really did change my life.

 

 

Jessica, Scotland

 

If there is any one thing I will remember about this camp you can be sure it will be kanafa. Until now I never knew you could subsist on sugary cheese alone, but this camp proves that anything is possible.

 

 

Kate, Ireland

 

It is very difficult to condense these last three wonderful, crazy, challenging weeks into a few sentences. The camp has opened my eyes to so many things- both good and bad. First of all, I have even surprised myself when I think about how much I enjoyed working with the children of Askar. I honestly think that Palestinian children are the most energetic and enthusiastic children in the world! I also appreciate the bravery, honesty and frankness the people here have demonstrated by sharing their personal stories with us. Before I left Ireland to travel here, a friend advised me that once you come to Palestine you will feel compelled to come back. That is so true and I hope to return to Palestine to live and work one day. It has been an honor to meet so many incredible people here. Palestine will always have a special place in my heart.

 

 

Rebecca, Spain

 

“I will come back because of my love of Palestinian culture.”

 

 

Kisley, Italy

 

“I learned so much. I was able to experience the real Arabic lifestyle and living here has been a good chance to learn more. I’d like to thank Rasha and Shuruk for giving me the opportunity to meet their families and make me taste the typical food of Nablus.”

 

 

Aine, Ireland

 

“The children made my experience here! They are so positive and funny despite all their obstacles. They give me so much hope for the future.’

 

 

Dacia, USA

 

‘The kids still have open hearts and minds, I hope I gave them the understanding that they are not alone, and that people all over the world care about them and want to help improve their lives’

 

 

Martha, Cyprus

 

‘I felt the kids appreciate much, much more than any other children living in Scotland or Cyprus and they definitely deserve a bright future.’

 

 

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