Experience First-Hand What Life is Like in Palestine

IMG_7753“The day before yesterday Ines and me arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. We got picked up by Izz, who waited for an hour, because we got held up at the airport by border security. This was probably due to the fact that we told them we would go to Hebron to learn Arabic. They asked us why we would like to learn Arabic, we responded that we just really like the language. In addition to this, we followed a minor in Arabic at our university in Groningen, The Netherlands. When we were in the taxi we were surprised with how easy we could go into Palestine: we drove through the checkpoints without any delay. This was because our driver, Izz, was driving here often.

The next day I woke up to my neighbours having fun and playing games. I went outside to see what they were doing, when I was outside I got welcomed to their home with unprecedented warmth and friendliness. This, for me, perfectly illustrates the feeling I have when I am in Palestine. People are warm, welcoming and extraordinarily friendly, this is not like it is in the West. Everyone I spoke to up untill today has shown interest in where I am from, what I am planning to do here and why I came to Palestine. My roommates are also very welcoming and were eager to show me around the house and its surroundings. Moreover, Mohammed (the host-brother of Ines) is being great showing us around the city and his (enormous) house. Yesterday we went to his farm and hiked the mountain next to his house. After that, he showed us the night-life of Hebron. From what I have seen untill now, I will feel right at home here in Hebron and have a great time.

Because of my study, international and European law, the issues in Palestine have always had my attention. The more I read about it on newssites and the more scientific articles I read about it, the more I felt the urge to go to the region myself to experience first-hand what life is like in Palestine. The aim of my stay here is mainly to get to know the Palestinian culture and meet people. In that way I will get a clear picture of what it is like to live here. Also I would like to continue my learning of the Arabic language. Here I can do that while also contributing to Palestinian society and learning a lot about this society. Therefore it was an easy choice for me and Ines to apply for this experience, and we are really happy we got accepted. Above all else, I would like to be able to spread the Palestinian culture in the West, because people there know very little of it, and sometimes it seems like no attention is given to this beatiful, rich and warm culture I find myself in today”. Daan from the Netherlands who is participating in the Volunteer in Palestine program 2015 this summer in Hebron Palestine