Hey, how are you, what is your name, what are you doing in Palestine?
I’m a volunteer and I’m here to listen to people’s stories, and to tell mine too.
Because people, even more in Palestine need ears and time to express what their feelings are, deep inside their heart. Ghina needs hugs, Ali needs to practice his English and randomly give his opinion about everything, Nisreen (my cousin) wants to give me a family, Ramsis needs to learn how to use his face muscles to express feelings, Najah is glad to have an assistant, Hiba wants to share food and lovely time, Ala needs to calm down, Tala and Izzedine want to speak more and practice their French, Jihad wants to make me discover his mountains, Aisha definitely needs more time to talk with me (and it’s reciprocal), Saleem needs somebody to be proud of him, Amro needs Germany.
I shared loads of wonderful and unforgettable moments with them during three weeks, and they brought me what I missed in Europe: their real personality twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They really listened, and I listened to them in return. I hope they will feel better anyways.
I came alone, and now, I would feel ready to settle down with my new family, like Abraham did several years ago… I became the daughter and the grand-daughter of every mother, cousin of all the cousins. I found roots and deep dreams buried in my mind. I figured the dream that I now wish to follow, after being unsatisfied with my studies for three years (we all do mistakes by not knowing ourselves). I learned how to be patient, even more than before. I learned how to teach something I had not really prepared myself for, and I learned how to bring enthusiasm and energy to the students after six minutes of concentration (unbelievably hard, you can’t imagine). I learned from the teachers in the French Department, from a writer who came to give a workshop, from kids to adults.
How is Palestine? Did you enjoy it?
Third and last article but I will say it again. I will not forget this awesome landscape of Nablus and its surroundings. I will always be amazed by the quiet olive trees on the hill of Sebastia village, which ask for nothing but peace and also the outstanding 360 degrees’ view on the top. I will still look at the buildings scattered on the opposite side of the mountains. It made me think of some Lego pieces we did not know where to put in the big city, so we threw them away everywhere on the grassy ground. Invitations, I received dozens of them; kind intentions that go straight to my heart. I will miss the true friends I made here, and every single view of Nablus, hearing the echo of Adan on Ali’s roof, the city by sunset and then by night, the button for the hot water, the cats, the copybooks spread in every corners at the university campus, students and teachers, all of them are lovely.
I saw the streets late at night. Empty streets, closed shops, doors shut. Cleaning service working. I saw the backstage of a daily market overabundant in its details tidied in an impressive quietness. No horning, just drivers who wants to enjoy the empty streets trying to reach a hundred and sixty miles per hour in thirty seconds. You don’t know how many more details I could write.
It’s awesome to be aware that life is running by so fast, but that people do not have any strict timetable, like “we” do in Europe. That makes me realize a major thing, that might be impossible to do when I will be back: choose one main and important task to do a day, and arrange my extra time to organize meetings with friends that want to see you, that are available, that are hanging around and are free to talk and take a coffee, or even time to call your mum and say Je t’aime maman.
Oddly (Audely), my best evening was in this hostel, while I was helping a good friend with his homework, while I was breathing the acrid smell of cigarette, around night people watching “Barcelona-unknown” game (we just want Barça to win), sharing a few words with the Palestinian Dinosaur, inventing stories again, like a child who wants to have fun.
Of course I will badly miss Nablus and its people, and I will be miserable and sad without meeting my friends and family every day, and of course I will be back as soon as my projects will allow me to do so. I filled myself up with love, mysterious looks, fantastic encounters and unforgettable food.
Though one day I thought, that taking as much love as I could before leaving will help me to survive after such an experience. In fact, it is painful to realize how much you need people and their way of just being themselves, taking care and laughing about anything, and also when these people agree to give you an Arabic class in a park full of children, in a fake wooden car.
I will probably be sick of missing you.
Finally, for me, Kenafeh will always represent, Nablus, and the friends I met there and much more: sweets, big and small spaces, after one you want more (friends and cakes), the whole Palestine, markets, people in the street, “ashara ashara!!”, “hello where are you from”, mothers cooking, and something that explodes inside your mouth, your brain, your stomach (even if the cooker said: “olala, glucose huh!”).
So obviously yes, I will miss the unique and holy Kenafeh.