“Palestine and America have many differences, but most of them are good, the biggest one being food. The food is delicious in Palestine; you’ve got hummus, za’atar, pita bread, kebabs, shawarma, kunafa, and much much more. Food here is not as processed as food is in America, and you can always find fresh fruit and vegetables on the street everywhere in Hebron. Although I will say that the eating habits are a bit different; you eat constantly, like every 2 hours or so, even if it’s at 11 o’clock at night. If you are trying to watch your figure, beware of the well-meaning hospitality. Also look out for the constant coffees and sugar-fill teas throughout the day, that is if caffeine and sugar isn’t your thing.
The people here are much more friendly than the people back home. Well, I guess it depends on where you’re from in America. Since I’m from the Washington DC metropolitan area, people in Palestine seem a lot friendlier. People are always greeting me on street, in shops, and in taxis, even if it’s just they’re curious about where I’m from and if I am enjoying my stay in Palestine. Hospitality is unbelievable in Palestine. The first time I came to Hebron, a child took me to his house, and his mother gave me water and told me that if I didn’t have anyplace to stay, that I could sleep at her house. Definitely no stranger danger here. When my host family was out one day and I came home to a locked door, I just went downstairs to another family’s apartment, where I was parked in front of a heater and given dinner. I always feel cared for here, as opposed to the “well sucks for you” attitude Americans have, myself included.
The weather here is different, as in a little bit warmer than what I’m used to in a Maryland winter. When it rains here, it’s either a light sprinkle or torrential downpour, there is no in-between, and it usually it ends up that the streets sport mini-rivers. Save yourself and take a taxi, trust me. Because I’m writing this with soaked feet and no central heating, so I have begun to loose feeling in my toes. Yes you heard me right, there is no central heating, which one of the only things that I really do not like about Palestine. In Maryland, you go shovel snow off your driveway and then dry off and warm up inside. In Palestine, you can see your breath inside your house or your classroom, and you use a cold damp towel everyday after showering because it simply does not dry in the cold conditions of your house. On the other hand, I have discovered the joy of electric blankets/bed heaters, so I don’t freeze completely and have an excuse to stay in bed a lot. Other than the lack of central heating, Palestine is awesome”. Jennifer from the USA who is participating in the Volunteer in Palestine Program