Final Farewell: Rachel

Rachel’s sports class celebrates the end of the session with face paint and tag during Open Day Sitting down to write this blog post was not easy. How could I choose only one aspect of this program to write about? I considered talking about the challenges of my sports class with my kids, and the overwhelming joy I felt when I began to see the positive changes in them as my session wore on. I also thought about sharing the highs and lows of teaching a group of gregarious women to do lunges while they chatter away about their favorite desserts, or writing about the time I spent learning about Palestinian culture with my volunteers and Najah students, and the friendships I formed and memories that I made with all of them. In the end, however, I realized that I could never really describe the value of my time in Palestine by sharing only these experiences, as they were all parts of a much larger whole that has left me forever changed.

Mo’men gets tiger stripes on the last day of classes

One paragraph will never be able to do justice to everything that I’ve learned at TYO, from professional skills like report writing to learning to cook vegan food with my fellow interns. As we cleaned our classrooms, wrapped up our final projects, and packed our things to leave, it was hard to believe that it was over: the taxi rides with Munir (our unofficial Arabic teacher), the bewildered trips to the grocery store, the time spent coloring with our kids before class, and all of the other little things that we took for granted in Nablus. I know that I’ll struggle for the next few months to describe my experience at TYO to everyone at home, and I can only hope that in same way that I could see the change in the smiles of my women and children, my friends and family will be able to understand the change in me when my words aren’t enough.

TWG put up quite a fight about playing football, but in the end they had a blast!

- Rachel

Rachel is a Fall 2013 Intern at TYO in Nablus.