Hania Al Bazz who is from Amesterdam, the Netherlands and originally from Palestine, she is participating in the Volunteer in Palestine Program 2015, she made the following remarks “I chose to come to Palestine because it has always been the unknown background sound of my childhood. The last 4 years I got more involved in my heritage and got to know my real father at age 21.
It started off with a culture shock as I arrived unaware and unaccepting of the Arabic habits and norms. Slowly but steadily I have learned and seen the beauty of my heritage and I feel at home with my culture. After 4 years I came to a point of being proud of my Arabic heritage instead of wishing I was actually Spanish as many thought I was. Palestine for me is the homerun of this journey. I can say that these are my people and genuinely want them to develop into the great people they actually can be.
The first class I had with Excellence Center Palestinian teacher Salam Amro, I was left alone with the Palestinian students for an hour of the class. I felt so at home in that hour and after telling the students that I do have Arabic heritage I felt that they looked at me differently than they did before they knew this and I could actually proof useful to them. I hope that I have brought over some of the aspects of the cultures I have lived with the most prevalent, one being freedom. During the presentations at the Center that I did I have spoken about Amsterdam as a city of freedom and mentioned the acceptance of being whoever you want to be. I think that sparked some ideas in the student’s minds.
With the Excellence Center we went to one of the best schools here, as I was told that most of the kids on this school were orphans. We got into class and Mutaz asked the kids their grades with all of them being between 94 to 99 all very bright children aged around 10 years old. They were all amazing participants and so eager to learn. Seeing these kids participate and trying so hard to make conversation and telling us about how they spend their time and do their very best at each assignment was a beautiful experience. It made me understand the kids more by how they choose to spend their time. Personally, I had one kid that stood out for me with squared glasses and a striped shirt, he said he loved to make and read poems in his free time.
I see myself useful as being a multicultural and traveled Arab, who understands why Arabs move the way they do and also understands the perception of western people. I hope that if I can teach, I can teach from experience and maybe create better understanding of the unfamiliar. Additionally, I see myself useful to help around the office where ever is necessary. As long as I am being useful it doesn’t really matter with what now.
This experience will reflect on my personal development, my view on the world and my purpose and values in life. After being here for a week I am sure that I want to work in an environment which brings the two worlds together and makes space for innovation”.