Intern Journal: Week in Review

The weekend weather was intense. We baked during our six hour desert hike through the arid canyons and ridges of Wadi Qelt. We snaked along the elevation of an old aqueduct to our final destination: the 5th century Greek Orthodox monastery of St. George. Following our incredible Saturday hike, last Sunday felt like the busiest one yet: our usual morning meetings, a trip to Balata refugee camp, our first Arabic lesson and teaching community English.

Balata is the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, and one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The narrow labyrinth of alleyways between the concrete block houses, some barely the width of one person, brought to life the living conditions experienced by the camp's thirty thousand plus residents. At TYO, we aim to provide a safe space for childhood play and informal education – a separate place where kids from the camps and other neighbourhoods can mix and simply be kids.


On Monday in my photography class, I printed out 22 different portraits and had the kids discuss them in groups. Next, in front of a semi-circle of their classmates, they had to present their chosen photo and talk about what made the photo interesting.  Even the shy managed to summon forth comments on colour or perspective after a few coaxing questions. In reward for their efforts, out came the DSLRs they'd been promised the week before.

The last ten minutes of the class was a maelstrom of flashes and camera swaps. Out of the chaos and running around emerged the students' portraits of each other, the variety of backgrounds and poses that were laudable in the context of a single classroom. As the minutes counted down until the end of class, the local boys' poses got bigger and bolder and more collaborative. It's clear to see they enjoy being in front of the camera just as much as being behind it.

See our photo of the week at the Triple Exposure blog!

- Mathilda

Mathilda is an intern at TYO Nablus.