Monthly Archives: June 2017


Singing and Dancing My Way Through Nablus

On my third day at TYO I spotted a guitar in the corner of an office. I could feel my heart beating faster with excitement as I asked if I could use the instrument and was delighted with the positive response. It was a small acoustic guitar that was perpetually out of tune, but simply having it brought me too much joy to care about the slightly off sound.  My happiness from finding the guitar didn’t stem from my direct love for playing music. Instead, the excitement was rooted in what the guitar could create. Music and dancing have always Continue reading…


From the TV Screen Straight to the Heart

Over the past two years, the term refugee has moved from humanitarian development circles into living rooms around the world as international crisis and crisis force men, women, and children to flee their homes for safety. From the flicker of the television screen and cultural, linguistic, political, and religious divides, it can be difficult to process the lives of those living as refugees. Palestinian American poet, songwriter, and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye stated, “You know, those of us who leave our homes in the morning and expect to find them there when we go back- it’s hard for us to Continue reading…


Nablus: A Hidden Paradise

One of my favorite new Arabic words that I’ve learned in Nablus is bejannan. A local staff member at TYO translated this word to me as a descriptor for something so overwhelmingly beautiful that it incites madness in onlookers. When I think of Nablus, I think, “Bejannan.” There is so much beauty in this city— in its people, in its landscape, in the rich culture of Palestinians—and TYO will always hold a special place in my heart for giving me the opportunity to be here. As I enter into my last week at TYO, my eyes well up with tears Continue reading…


Celebrate Kids on International Children’s Day!

Happy International Children’s Day! In 1925, The World Conference for the Well-Being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland declared June 1st as International Children’s Day in an effort to raise awareness about the unique issues children face as they learn and grow in an adult world. Fred Rogers, American television personality and creator and host of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, stated, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Here at TYO, we couldn’t agree more! For the children of TYO, of Continue reading…