And now a break from our regularly scheduled programming…
TYO’s regular internship program hit a speed bump earlier last week when a transit strike in Nablus shut down the city from 2:00-4:00pm, right when our classes would normally occur. We couldn’t bus our kids in from the Old City, or from Balata, El Ein, New Askar or Old Askar - the four refugee camps we work with. This meant that the only students we had were from the surrounding Khallah neighborhood, forcing us to create a project that deviated from the familiar pattern. While our afternoon still began with homework help and a healthy snack, after that we were faced with uncharted territory. Instead of focusing any one group on art, critical thinking or sports, we put our heads together to come up with a project that would incorporate all of our class subjects.
A series of clues led students on a scavenger hunt through a strenuous game of tug of war with Tommy, a mind-engaging puzzle depicting the next room with Mary, a drawing lesson highlighting healthy eating habits with Megan, and through our snack area and extra classrooms. Kids got to show each other their classrooms and what they’ve been learning in each of their classes, and we as interns and volunteers got to learn to improvise and work better together as a team.
Life in Nablus is hard to schedule, so being able to support each other and our kids when things don’t go according to plan is a huge part of our jobs as interns. Providing stability for kids living in unstable home lives is what makes TYO special. The center is in so many ways a bubble in the heart of our neighborhood, a kind of oasis for people here in Nablus, so we’re working to make sure that our programs run as normally as possible and continue to help to build a support system for our kids.
But for us as interns, we're learning so much about flexibility and patience. Being flexible in Nablus is key. Things may not always go according to plan and sometimes, things are out of our hands. As young professionals, we're learning how to better adapt and think on our feet in the workplace. Often in the classroom, we need to create backup plans - "Plans A, B and C" if you will. TYO's Internship Program is design to be like an entry-level job that focuses on personal and professional development. All of us as interns are already seeing growth within ourselves and are so excited for the next weeks ahead!
Fortunately, the transit strikes drew to a close earlier last week, so classes went off without a hitch the next day, with high attendance rates from all of our neighborhoods. We will now be returning to our regularly scheduled programming.
-Mary, Megan and Tommy
Mary, Megan and Tommy are TYO interns in Nablus