The Excellence Center took its volunteers to the Camel Sandals factory in Hebron, Palestine. Camel Sandals is an international Palestinian company with offices worldwide. They operate under the name Jerusalem Sandals outside of Palestine, because of a conflict with the Camel Cigarette company. The family-run company specializes in handmade, leather sandals and bags. Volunteers at the center were given the opportunity to see the entire production process, from the cutting of leather and shaping of soles all the way to the final touches and insignia-stamping.
The factory is located high on a hill in Hebron, providing a beautiful overview of the city. After the tour, the volunteers went back to a room with sofas, had tea and spoke with one of the members of the family who owns the company. In addition, they spoke with some humanitarian workers from TIPH (the Temporary International Presence in Hebron) who visit the factory frequently to have tea with the owners. Finally, the volunteers looked through some inventory at the factory store, and one of the them purchased a pair of sandals. The staff were kind, and invited the volunteers to come back and see their work anytime they wished.
Sharon from the USA had a lot to say: “They’re really friendly. They offered us coffee. They showed us the entire process of sandal making, each step, which was really interesting, and it was really cold so I’m not sure how they did it. The prices there were better than other places, which was nice, and it was interesting because they make a quality product and it was interesting to see that process because they don’t make cheap stuff. I like that they make their leather different colors so you can have different colour products.” Everyone at the center had a very good time on the trip.