Israel/Palestine March 11: Attending Classes

Today, I went to school with my host sister and visited her first class, IB Business and Management. Sitting in the classroom was quite interesting because I learned how different the students are from us at George School.

We then listened to a lecture by Omar Barghouti about BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a campaign that promotes non-violent resistance against Israel’s occupation in Palestine. The presentation was very informative and definitely widened my knowledge about the relationship between the two countries, about the belief of Palestinians, their courage to resist, and about different ways of resisting. My favorite is definitely the culture resistance with dances and performances.

The visit to Al-Amari refugee camp allowed us to learn of the poor living conditions of Palestinians who weren’t allowed to go back to Palestine. Roads (which seemed to me more like pavements) got smaller and smaller as we walked but they somehow still led to many houses, with a lack of sunlight. We then visited a play center that was started by Quakers for 5 year-old children. The class we visited had about 40 children. We were greeted with songs that we didn’t understand, however, we still noticed the excitement and happiness in their smiles.

The children were then given notebooks and crayons so we could draw with them. I approached two little girls. One was really happy with the crayons and started to draw butterflies right away in her notebook. The other hesitated and looked through the colors that she had. I drew a flower in her notebook to ask her to draw but she started to color in the flowers. This miscommunication made it easier for us to understand each other, because she liked to color my pictures. There were many times when the girl looked up at me and started speaking Arabic. I stood there smiling, hoping that I could use it to substitute for my lack of understanding of Arabic. Before we left, I got to take pictures of the girls and received high-fives from both.

We finished our afternoon with working in the garden, removing the weeds so the school could plant organic food, and spent time with our host family.

Tomorrow will be our last day in Ramallah. We will have a farewell soccer match that everybody is excited about. Jackie, Emily, Raphi, Jacki and I don’t know how to play soccer but are expected to…we will see how it goes.

Bye! Yen Anh Nguyen

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