I’ve been in Nablus for almost two weeks now. It’s funny, I feel like it as only been a few days, I don’t really know where the time went. I’ve done a lot. I wanted to write earlier, but I found it difficult. To be honest, I still find it difficult ; I still haven’t had time to digest all this information, to get used to the idea of being in Palestine.
I don’t think I have enough perspective yet to describe everything to you, but I still wanted to give you some news.
I like it a lot, here. From the first moments, I’ve felt at home. On the opposite of the image of misery and hopelessness that some may have, I arrived in a city alive, welcoming. When going out in the streets, wandering in the markets, we can hear « Welcome to Palestine » everywhere. It is not a very touristy city, I don’t feel hassled like I have felt in so many other places, although for sure, I don’t blend in.
The local culture fascinates me. The food is delicious, the music is wonderful. The social norms are different, between men and women for example, but everything is impregnated with respect. Relgion is almost omnipresent, without being imposed.
Of course, there is the occupation. It is there, everywhere, all the time, although it is not as obvious here as elsewhere, it takes different forms, daily : the Israeli checkpoints on the roads, the unreasonable prices of some resources, the refugee camps, the destroyed houses, the gunshots, at night, and many more.
There is also and above all, all of these injustices that I am told about. The suffering, so old, of people that are considered by their oppressor as animals. People whose lives don’t matter as much as those of other people, over there, on the other side of the wall. So, I listen, I learn. I could write a lot about what locals have to tell me about this, because I am told a lot. I think that they need to talk about it, I think they hope their voice will be heard, outside. I would like to give them that voice, I don’t want to do it wrong. I am afraid of not doing it right.
Between volunteers too, we talk a lot. There is this need to understand, this need to share. In them I have found much more than friends. I am with a second family, here. I know, this may seem strange after so little time, but the context allows it. We all share our daily lives, and we’re going through this experience together, cut from the outside, to which it is difficult to describe our lives here. We have created a small bubble from which sometimes, some events have to take us out and bring us back to reality.
There’s not only the volunteers, all the Project Hope team is amazing. In the mornings, we only have to climb a few stairs to get to the premises of the association, where everybody greets each other happily, often in Arabic. I’ve started learning this language, which is difficult, but I’m learning a lot thanks to this immersion. I ask plenty of questions, I progress how I can, with the patience of the people around me.
The rest of the day, we all make our ways to the different classes we have to give. For me, it’s going to be French, English, Music and Slackline. I will also spend some time with kindergarten children and autistic children.
During our free time, we get to take part in various activities. I already had the chance to participate in a school trip to Jericho.
So, everything is going great, I’ve already found my marks here.
Then, last night happened…