Reflections of the International Volunteers- Spring Camp:

Blossoms of Hope 2012’

 

Hassan, United Kingdom

I do not think I have the time and space to write down what I have learnt. My overall experience was an enjoyable experience but a sad reality that I find I should address to my friends.

James Ireland

‘Working alongside the local volunteers was very brilliant, inspiring and passionate’

I have learnt, from my time at Zajel, more about the conflict, the Middle East and Islam. The visit to Hebron City was amazing and eye opening; I found Bouren and Iraq Boureen villages interesting and Balata refugee Camp inspiring and sad, as for my though on the occupation. One word: Colonial.

Paula, Germany

‘Shocking to see that the situation…is even worse than what has been described by guest speakers and talks that were hosted by our ‘Friends of Palestine Society’. It is shocking to see that the government and institutions of the international system are supporting the Israeli dictatorship and the oppression upon the Palestinians and even their own people’. ‘The visit to Hebron was necessary and important to see the occupied house and how the soldiers protect settlers. Also seeing Shuhada Street closed and having to walk over the grave yard is really impressive because it shows the humiliating nature of the occupation.’

‘The eye-witnesses were very important to hear, hearing the information of people who have experienced the conflict not just from articles.  Settlements= Invasion & Illegality’, Very positive and eye-opening and by not letting them know the truth about the occupied territories.

Carmen, United Kingdom/Columbia

‘My experience was incredible. The integration with the local volunteers and classes made the relevance of the politics we learnt more emotional. I think I am more radicalized also, even more resolved and determined to step up my activism and be uncompromising’.

Workshops were a great way to interact with Palestinians on a more personal level, which is an incredible insight into how people are and think. Plus building more compassion after getting attached to a class which is different to compassion from the life stories we heard on tours.

Working alongside local volunteers makes the program a much deeper experience than what we experience during political tours which can be shallow and does not necessarily allow for an understanding of Palestine and its people

I learnt even more about the horrific harassment which reaffirmed the extent of the abuse experienced by Palestinians on a constant basis…Boureen and Iraq Boureen were both excellent examples of the occupation for people to witness ethnic cleansing in Practice.

Basically I couldn’t thank you enough…I am truly in debt and waiting to return the hospitality in the UK, to be honest I can’t even articulate how good the program was and what I feel about it.

Kaya,  Holland

‘Great, interesting, learning experience, inspiring, heartwarming and unforgettable’

I understood that the more you learnt the more complex it gets… Like Ala said, you haven’t been to Palestine if you haven’t been to Hebron. Walking around through the streets, seeing the settlers slowly taking over the city really opened my eyes as to how urgent and desperate the situation in Palestine really is.

I learnt that the media back home aren’t telling the whole story and the more information on the conflict is needed. Hopefully I can help achieve this, It was an honor to get to know these amazing students!

Giles, United Kingdom

‘From my experience at Zajel, I learnt teaching techniques and the reliance of the human spirit and good bond between responsibility and passion’, I found my workshops to be fun, challenging, sometimes it felts pressured but I was motivated to follow the task required of me. The local volunteers were outstanding; they were more than helpful, outgoing, informative and approachable. I could not have managed without their aid, enthusiasm and understanding.  

The visit to Hebron was shocking, surreal and inspirational. As for Boureen & Iraq Boureen these were saddening. The trip to Balata Refugee camp left me in awe, anger and apprehension of human spirit. The interviews we listened to were both inspiring and saddening. As for my thoughts on the Israeli occupied areas and settlements are that they are horrendous and infusive and displayed the banality of evil.

Vera, Germany

‘I learned a lot about the everyday life of Palestinians under the occupation, more in depth information about the conflict, cultural differences teaching skills and a little bit of Arabic too’

Hebron City was the most important trip, Bouren and Iraq Boureen villages were interesting, Visiting Balata refugee camp was powerful and perfect on the first day to get an introduction. The workshops were challenging at times in terms of preparation but very rewarding at the same time. They were important for us because it meant we could talk to students and learn about their experiences. At times it was a bit chaotic but in general worked well. My overall experience was incredible and absolutely perfect. I will recommend everyone to come. I cannot thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us.  

Vega, Iraq/Britain

‘The Palestinian spirit has infiltrated into the core of my heart and helped stitch a deep wound created as a result of what has occurred in my home town of Baghdad. My memories will forever be treasured’. The field trips, to summarize, where recollections of how life has become ordained to military rule. Hebron was the most complex climate to understanding. It displayed the Palestinian psychological state of being: Silenced by land theft, discrimination, segregation and pure hatred of people who’re the original, historical and legitimate inhabitants of the land called Palestine.

My visit exposed me to Apartheid-al tendencies of despicability and repugnance. Sadly, scenes I saw did not surprise me but reaffirmed the facts on the ground and seeing those at the heart of the conflict: The children of Hebron.

Working alongside locals, personally speaking, was the best. Each one of them hasn’t only welcomed me in but ensured that our stay remains consistent in quality, hospitality, pleasantry and contentment. The way I see the collaboration is: The meeting point where two halves make a whole. The collaboration appeared equated from both sides and the combination of internationals meets locals was greatly complementary and useful for all involved. It truly infused happiness here at Zajel. The workshop experience confirms the above as the locals helped to deconstruct all language barriers, which could have promenaded, but instead trust was what triumphed.

Mana, Japan

I’ve been in Palestine before and since then I’ve been studying about Palestine for two full years. Therefore, all the ‘facts’ I saw or was told in and out of Nablus were not completely new to me-maybe predictable.

However, hearing those ‘facts’ from the mouths of the Palestinians, who actually experienced it, in the exact places they occurred, was something totally different. It sounded as if it was completely new to me. It was much more shocking than reading it in a book on something. Incomparably painful; this meant a lot for me. It helped me define my imagination, helped me in my ongoing struggle to be genuinely compassionate with the oppressed.

 Shasha- UK

I don’t know how I can possibly thank you…thank you for showing me the courage, compassion and character of the Palestinians. You will all be in my heart forever.

 Fahmida- UK

I would like to thank you all for your hospitality and all of your concern while I was feeling ill. Before I arrived in Palestine I was near ignorant about the situation…the exhaustive schedule has taught me so much about the people of Palestine and their struggle. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get in touch and get to know Palestinians …people who are proud of their land and who are willing to share their life experiences with us, to show us their culture and dreams and to work towards a solution.  

Ashar, United Kingdom

I hope to show through my actions that I will take in the future how much every aspect of this journey has opened my mind to the situation in Palestine. Every person or interaction that I have had throughout the program has affected me in various ways and it is extremely difficult to write about how passionate and inspired I am by the people that I have met .I am unable to see the beauty of Palestine but I honestly feel that the beauty of the people will live forever in both my mind and my heart From the students that I have taught, to the inspiring people that I have learnt from I have felt more welcomed in this country than I have ever experienced before in my life. 

The stories and the situations that I have been exposed to have touched me in a way that I will never forget, I have developed as an individual and continued to learn the importance of working with people from different backgrounds, faiths and ethnic origins. I have such an amazing amount of respect and admiration for everything that zajel is trying to achieve and I hope that I can play a role in supporting the goals and aims that the program tries to accomplish

I will try and explain the messages that I have been exposed to as best I can to as many people as possible and if there is any more guidance that you can give me to most effectively carry this out I would be eternally grateful. The strength, hope and unbelievable amount of courage that the Palestinian people have have inspired me, please never lose your confidence and resolve you are incredible examples and role models to the rest of humanity.

Through educating generations of students to come and take part in this program you will enable freedom and liberation to be more than just theoretical concepts I do not know when but I will return, please keep in touch with me and tell me about how I can assist in improving any aspect of your lives. I cannot thank you all enough for everything that I have been part of on this trip.

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