The Last Post!

“Khalto Eve! Khalto Eve!” My class waved at me for the last time from the windows of their school buses, and I waved back as they disappeared into the distance. TYO’s summer program has flown by, but the faces that left me behind were happy. It did not feel like that would be our last goodbye, and I began to reflect upon my experiences over the past couple of months, and several memories of TYO stood out in particular.

Whilst working for the Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!) at An-Najah National University, the vast changes in the students between the first and last classes were phenomenal. At the start of the course, 90% of students did not have a CV and cover letter, and did not know how to network or create opportunities for themselves. By the end of the course, students had perfected professional the professional documents and grown exponentially in self-confidence. In one student’s words, “This class confirmed for me the idea of working together, to keep working to fix mistakes, and not to be unhappy if I have some problems but work to solve them.”

In Core English, the most significant experience I had with my students was witnessing the confidence they gained as they progressed over the course of the program. The most significant change occurred when we used a universal language, that of movement. By linking actions to words, our communication vastly improved, and when we used song, dance and games to learn, the children’s understanding was at its strongest. When my students began to march into my classroom, singing our greetings song at the tops of their voices without even being asked, I knew that I could not make them more confident in using their new vocabulary.

For The Women’s Group, it is hard to pick a single memory from the course on which to focus. At the beginning of the program, we found that women attended precisely because they had decided to make a change and become the driving forces of their lives, and of their community. Over the course, they overcame many personal challenges to hold true to this goal, improving their own fitness and questioning nutritional practices to learn about how best to provide for their families.

To facilitate these experiences at TYO, be part of so many personal changes (and to become Khalto Eve, and gain many new aunties myself!) has been an honour. The effect that my students and Nablus has had on me is certainly more substantial than the effect I may have had on them. I know that I will always carry these inspirational memories with me, and as “we only part to meet again,” I will not make this a final goodbye, but look forward to the next meeting.

-TYO Intern, Yvonne