By: Vanessa, Switzerland
I decided to participate in the Zajel work camp of September 2019 after hearing about my friend Patrick’s experience. It seemed the right opportunity to visit a country of which unfortunately we do not hear much news about. So I decided to join in with my brother.
Before arriving in Palestine, I have been reading up on the history of this country and the conflict with Israel. However, I was not yet aware of what it meant to live in an occupied territory, to pass through the checkpoints to go from one city to another within the country, to see Israeli colonies and Israeli soldiers within Palestine. Seeing all of this has been strong: I would never have imagined how Palestinians live on a daily basis, and I admit I have been moved more than once in these 14 days.
The visit to the Balata Camp, a refugee camp in Nablus, also impressed me a lot: seeing the narrow streets between one house and another, knowing about the number of people sharing the same house and the problems they have on a daily basis made me think a lot.
With this experience as a volunteer for the Zajel program, I was able to immerse myself completely in Palestinian culture and life. The workshops and all the activities organized with the local students allowed me to get to know many peers, their stories, their dreams. I think that sharing the daily life with Palestinian students has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Hospitality, kindness, education of all the people I have met are some of the many aspects that I will take with me forever.
I can’t wait to go home and tell my family and friends about this experience, about all the things I have learned, about all the stories I have heard.
I will always remember this camp, Palestine, its landscapes, its sunsets (the best I have ever seen), but especially the people I have met and who have been part of this journey.