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When we arrived in Nablus city on the 1st of July 2019, we were warmly welcomed by the ‎young voluntary students of the Zajel program. We introduced ourselves to each other in a ‎family park while enjoying cool drinks. We also learned a lot about the program of the ‎following days. ‎

By: Jessica - Germany

All in all, I was thrilled with the great hospitality and helpfulness of all volunteers and the ‎commitment of Zajel coordinators. Everybody has always tried to provide us with the necessary ‎things and to show us as much as possible of their country and their lives. Thank you very ‎much!!‎

We were always traveling with the volunteer students, be in Nablus or in other cities. We were ‎in Jericho, Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem cities. We also spent a night in the desert with ‎Bedouins on the Dead Sea.‎

After exploring the old town of Nablus and the new and old campus of An-Najah National ‎University, Nablus on the first day, we visited the Nakba refugee camp at the second day. The ‎refugee camp is oppressive by its narrow streets, the lack of privacy of the residents. We were ‎very lucky to meet an old lady who was ready to tell us about her expulsion in 1948 and the ‎related life in the camp. Her report was very touching, emotional and moving. Here was the ‎national pride of the Palestinians for the first time very obvious to me. This national pride has ‎accompanied us throughout our stay and is inherent to the Palestinians.‎

It is highly recommended to visit the old town of Nablus. The traditional, original life can be ‎experienced in the market lanes.‎

The Samaritan village is also worth a visit. The small denomination lives in isolation, yet ‎accepted by the Muslim Palestinians. All in all, in addition to Muslims, Christians and the ‎Samaritans live in Palestine, but at best people mix in social life, not in private life. To move ‎with local students, was the easiest way to get around in Nablus. That way you were accepted ‎by the public and not only a tourist.‎

Palestine is not officially a country of its own and Israel makes sure to be present. Be in the ‎form of check points on the roads or in front of settlements, which are preferably built on the ‎highest points of the cities. In contact with the people, one cannot help but become aware of the ‎injustice that has happened to their families or continues to happen to them. This was a very ‎important experience for me, especially for my understanding of the Middle East conflict.‎

In Bethlehem, a small, beautiful city, people are used to tourists. Crowds flock daily to the ‎Nativity Church, Milk Grotto and to Sheperd's Field.‎

But especially exciting was the evening, the night and the morning in the desert with the ‎Bedouins. Here was a bit of holiday mood: romantic sunset in the middle of the desert, a ‎brightly lit starry sky in the evening and a unique beautiful sunrise on a cliff in front of the ‎Dead Sea the next morning.‎

The next day was quite different, a visit to Hebron city. The political situation in Hebron is ‎very tense as almost half of the city is occupied by Israelis. The most visible and sustainable ‎experience in terms of the situation of the Palestinians in the Palestinian - Israeli area was for ‎me the visit to Hebron. Hebron actually means "friendship" in both Hebrew and Arabic.‎

IUn the Palestinian zone of Hebron, our Palestinian volunteers are also moving relaxed through ‎the Old Town. At the bazaar everyone looks around, we buy and talk with market vendors.‎

‎ ‎Ramallah city stands as a modern city in strong contrast to Nablus or Hebron. You immediately ‎sense the openness and the metropolitan character of the city.‎

But also Jericho city offers as a welcome change to Nablus. It is a place of pilgrimage of ‎Christians from all over the world. However, you should be prepared for the heat.‎

All in all, I can only recommend this work camp, because only then can you get a ‎comprehensive and unique impression of Palestine in just not even two weeks.‎

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