“I am Houdah khan from Mauritius Island and I am volunteering for 2 weeks at the Excellence Center. I have been teaching Sociology in secondary schools for 5 years in my country and my sister who is also a teacher decided that we need to experience something new in Palestine. Before our arrival we have been told to write about our motivation for choosing to volunteer in Palestine at the Excellence center. It’s been only one day we have been here and things have been beyond what we expected.
Today, we have been in a Spelling Bee workshop at the Hebron Polytechnic University with Muhammad Tamim who is the Manager of the Excellence Center. We had the opportunity to meet people who organized the workshop and people who work close with the Ministry of Education of Palestine. We could understand how the educational system of Palestine work and could see people and pupils of different colleges. At different intervals of the workshop, there has been some cultural Palestinian items such as songs which actually brought some emotions to me. Together with the professional side, we could experience that emotional side and people openly greeting us and asking about where we are from.
We also chose the Excellence Center because it allows us to stay with a Palestinian family where we could experience the rich culture more deeply. I could observe how strong my host mother is and from there I observe that Palestinian women are very hardworking. My host mother could multi task by teaching his son his school lessons and at the same time she was holding the neighbor’s baby and looking after her. At night, we visited some of her relatives together with her and we could learn how to make good use of time as well. In one day, she could manage do so many fruitful things, taking care of her own 2 lovely kids and hosting us in such a warming way.
We had expectations before coming but things have been beyond expectation in just one day. We went to exchange our money from dollars to shekel and there the people even offered us coffee. In the supermarket and on the street, at times people glance at us because we look different from the Palestinian but as soon as we say a “hello” or just a smile, we are welcomed with unconditional warmth. I would say Palestinian people are strong people with a big heart.
Before even taking Arabic classes, we have already learn some of the Arabic terms with people all around especially with the 6 year old child of our host family. We already have so much of cultural and languages exchange as there are volunteers from different countries at the Excellence Center. Before coming to the Excellence Center, one among the reason which I mentioned for choosing the Excellence Center was because of the low cost but by now I feel that the experience I will be having can never be repaid.
At no moment we felt the way we used to see Palestine from the media. We even felt the opposite while travelling from the airport to Jerusalem and Hebron. Palestinian have a great sense of hospitality and is indeed safe to stay!.”