“Two days after graduating from Bates College I was on my way to Palestine. For the first time in 23 years I left the comfort of my home in New York and traveled to the Middle East.
Without a doubt, the Israeli military occupation of Palestine was of great concern for my parents and friends. In his attempt to dissuade me from coming, a friend warned me about shared taxis because they “are usually bombed.” Although this was said with the best intentions, it just illustrated the ignorance some people have in the U.S. regarding Palestine. For this reason, I have been very active on certain social media sites where through pictures and videos I show the natural landscapes and everyday life in the West Bank.
I never thought I would be teaching, let alone English! I was 11 years old when I moved from Honduras to the US and began learning English. Many of my students have masters or had just finished college like myself, but their eagerness to learn English humbled me. Teaching English as a Foreign Language has made me appreciate the hard work of my previous ESL teachers. Furthermore, I hope that the skills I learned in the classroom translate to my coaching style in the squash courts.
My host family was very accommodating and have welcomed me with open arms. My host uncles and aunts have tried to make feel at home as much as possible. In solidarity with my host family and friends, I also fasted during Ramadan. While at first I found it hard, the fact that everyone was fasting made it easier. In addition, iftar was worth waiting for because of maqluba or mansif along with the sweets and other delicious dessert.
I am happy that I was able to find a hospitable organization like the Excellence Center for my experience in Palestine would not have been the same without them”. Myriam Kelly who participated in the Teach English, Speak Arabic program at the Excellence Center in Hebron Palestine in Summer 2015