Upper Galilee, Israel
The experience was unforgettable and unfathomably precious. The feel of a whole new country, of various religions, of various backgrounds, of whole new climates and landscapes– the variety of it all and the feeling of it all is so distinct and alive in my mind and heart and I hope it will always be so. In my case, there was quite a large language barrier with the children I was tasked to teach and it posed a problem some of the time; but it didn’t get in the way of my being able to learn from and teach these children. I also had to be quick in developing my own tactics in working with the children as an authoritative figure, which to date I had not known how to go about doing.
It was an amazing experience with everything from stressful situations to do with the disorganization of a brand new program and huge language barriers between the children and the volunteers, to beautifully rewarding experiences upon the realization that no matter where you are in the world, it does not take long to connect with children and teach one another skills and knowledge for and about the world.
I learned a little Arabic (very difficult language to learn) from everyone I was surrounded by, and I was very happy to learn of the customs and traditions of the people of the Druze religion—a religion I had not known very much about prior to this journey; one of very beautiful principles such as hospitality and respect towards all people. In the program itself, we used art, music, dance, writing, reading and various other games to teach the children of Mughar basic English.
At the end of it all, despite the various hurdles we had to learn to tackle, I felt exhilarated about my experience and astonished and proud for the children when I got up on the stage with them during the closing ceremony to show the parents two of the many songs my teaching partner, Sarah, and I had taught them—“Five Little Monkeys” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. I felt like they had gotten out of the experience way more than I had anticipated (in fact I didn’t know what to expect as the whole time we were all constantly going through the program not knowing what would come next)—as they looked at me with their smiles and wide excited eyes in anticipation of what song we were going to display for the parents next, I felt reassured that this was one of the most positive experiences I have ever had.
One of the most beautiful things I learned from these children was that sharing should come naturally; alongside their rambunctious energy, I witnessed their constant want and need to share what they have with everyone around them, which was an inexplicably valuable lesson about hospitality and decent human behavior.
Thank you so much for this opportunity,