Monthly Archives: April 2010


A Zeitoon Afternoon

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of an extended visit with the Zeitoon family.   Zeitoon women make up six out of the eight students in my lower level English class here at TYO.  Last term, they rarely came to class, and when they did all six would stroll in at the same time (usually late), babies in tow, laughing raucously, never-ever remembering all 26 letters of the alphabet.  Whenever I heard their booming voices echoing in the hallway outside of my classroom, I was always filled with simultaneous dread and pleasure. The Zeitoon family is from Balata refugee camp, the Continue reading…


Intern Journal: Things that Grow

In the last class before a week-long break my students set up beans for sprouting. All it takes is a wet cotton ball, some beans, and a small dish or Dixie cup. We set them near a window, and I added a little water throughout the break. By the time the kids returned, all of their beans had roots and a few green leaves were even poking through. So we transferred the sprouts from the small cups to larger plastic containers, which they decorated with crayons and constructed paper and filled with soil. When I checked on the sprouts I Continue reading…


Kalimatna: The Palestinian Disabled Union

I walked in from the noise and heat of the street to the shaded and cool office not a minute too soon, as I’d speed-walked from TYO to the city center in record time.  I was immediately greeted by a lovely girl sitting at the front desk and the director of the organization who was seated across the desk.  We had met a few days beforehand and he warmly extended a hand to me in welcome. Haya was already there and taking photos of two men who were flipping through profiles of the Union’s members, looking for candidates for the Continue reading…


Business of Peace in the Middle East

TYO Founder and President, Hani Masri, headlined a conference at Harvard Business School (HBS) last Friday, April 9, along with Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of the Portland Trust. The conference was the second annual event on this topic, organized by HBS students and sponsored by Harvard MENA and the HBS Jewish Students Association. [youtube=] HBS organizers were interested to brainstorm and publicize ways that the private sector can promote stability and peace in Israel and Palestine. Over 100 audience members represented the Harvard community (HBS and the university’s other graduate schools, including the Kennedy School of Government and the Graduate Continue reading…


Shaking Things Up

One of the moments I enjoyed most over the past five weeks happened when my class took painted toilet paper rolls— “telescopes”—outside to the TYO balcony. The children peered out across their city and excitedly called out what they saw: buildings, mosques, cars, trees, birds, laundry, and more. Back inside, they drew some of those sights to create a Nablus scene for our classroom wall. With the goal of stimulating further observations of their world, I planned this Tuesday’s class around the theme of sound. We started with a rhythm game involving clapping, stomping, and snapping. Then we spent two Continue reading…


Kalimatna: Arabic to Arabic Translation

I started studying Arabic during my sophomore year of college six years ago.  Arabic is a very difficult language even for the most gifted language-learner, and given the fact that I am not a gifted language-learner, I think I’ve come a long way.  I spent last year in Jordan reading and studying a variety of classical Arabic texts, which ranged from pre-Islamic poetry to Quranic exegesis.  Sounds pretty impressive, right? Given the high level of my reading abilities, you might assume that I can speak and understand Arabic with equal facility.  Unfortunately for me (and for the vast majority of Continue reading…