Our rotation here at TYO is drawing to a close, but even as we are getting a little emotional about leaving, life here continues for TYO’s kids. Part of being a kid at TYO is watching the cycle of interns coming and going, so while this is a profound moment of goodbye for us, to the kids we’ve gotten to know and love over the last three months, it’s goofy, fun, busy business as usual. Kids here see about 12 foreign interns a year in approximately three month rotations. In many ways, we can’t help but feel that these last three months have been more impactful for us than they may have been for the kids. That’s not to say we haven’t made an impact, just that we are once again humbled by the fact that we are a step in the process of helping the youth of Nablus, and that impact is measured in years, not weeks.
Many of the kids we’ve worked with came up for a final goodbye handshake or hug, a final “it was fun!” and a high five. But a few came up and took a moment to say thank you. Some were students we expected it from, who had obviously made connections with us throughout the session and would pop in to say hi even once their classes switched, but some were more surprising. A few of the kids we struggled with the most were among those who took the time to say thank you, and those were the ones that were truly humbling. It made all of the frustration we may have felt throughout the term worthwhile, because even though it was a challenge, it was a challenge that mattered to the kids.
Along with saying goodbye to our kids, we also had to say farewell to the volunteers we have worked with throughout the session. All of us interns have formed good working relationships and even friendships with our volunteers. We got to say goodbye to them during a ceremony that commended them for their commitment and hard work here.
With TYO's short term interventions, we know that these last three months may not have been a turning point for every single kid, and that change happens gradually. But saying goodbye to our kids has made it abundantly clear that it has been step in the right direction.