Celebrating 4th of July in Salfit

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On the morning of Tuesday, July 5th, the high-pitched voices of 50 third graders could be heard humming “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Islands…” Had Boy Scouts invaded the TYO Center? Had a Midwest homeroom class been transported to the TYO Center? Neither! A Palestinian classroom had magically transformed into a celebration, all with the help of some games, a little paint, and delicious burgers. Many smiles ensued.

Normally, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the interns pile into Munir’s car for the windy trek over to Salfit, a nearby Palestinian village, for some extracurricular English classes at their local American Corners library. American Corners is a worldwide program run through the U.S. State Department. In Palestine, its sites aim to share American history and culture while also encouraging intercultural dialogue through literacy. So in that spirit, we celebrated the 4th of July with our Salfit students. Armed with flag coloring sheets, patriotic paint colors, and Independence-themed Bingo, we led various lessons on the most important values we share with our Palestinian brethren. Concepts like “family,” “nation,”  and “pride” are ideas that translate well in any language, and our students were excited to share with us their own holidays, traditions, and pride in their country. Through this special celebration, TYO hopefully imparted some of the best values we all honor on Independence Day. And, of course, what would the 4th of July be without hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream?

Happy (belated) Independence Day from all of us at TYO!

- Alex

Alex is a summer intern at TYO Nablus.

Painting complete in Nablus Basic School

The Triple Exposure mural class were busy painting during June and have brightened up a hallway in UNRWA Nablus Basic School. The students worked together in class to come up with ideas of how to protect the environment, and images that they could create to represent these. They personified the environment as the sun and the water droplet, and showed that if we leave taps running we are wasting a precious resource, and if we pollute the skies we ultimately damage ourselves. The earth represents the one planet we all share.

After painting their designs onto hardwood, the art work was then installed in the school. On Thursday, mural teacher Rimah took the students to view their painting, and both the students and the school were delighted with the finished piece.

The mural class and their painting

Triple Exposure trip to Beit Ferik olive groves

Last week we took one of the advanced photography classes to the village of Beit Ferik, a few kilometres from the city of Nablus. In groups of twos and threes they shared the DSLR cameras and put into practice what they had recently been learning about nature photography. Students were given a checklist to inspire them to capture the beauty of nature and get them thinking about composition, colour, light and shadow.

In Palestine, the olive tree is prized for its historical presence, its beauty, its symbolism and most importantly economic significance. The trees are important as they have long been a key part of the country’s agricultural output: olives, oil and wood. Nablus itself is famous for soap made from olive oil, and it is still made in the couple of the factories left in the city today.

In recent years, many olive groves in the west bank have been destroyed, but the ancient trees that remain rooted in the land, embody the history and durability of the Palestinian people.

Here are some of the top shots from the day.  For more photos, please see the Triple Exposure blog.

by Noha

by Taha

by Samee

by Hala

by Amira

by Samee

For more photos, please see the Triple Exposure blog.

SOW National Team: Trip Compendium

From the Students of the World blog:

It has been almost four weeks, and it still feels like yesterday we were anticipating what this experience would be like. As Jackie’s fortune cookie foretold the night before our departure; “Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.” The days have fused into a collection of memories and revelations, each of us taking different detours on the road we’ve traveled together. Sometimes leading us to different surprises, highlights, and stories to share. Here is a concise exploration of our thoughts looking back on our experience, bittersweet nostalgia on the day we leave.  -Andrea

Over the course of the next week, TYO will post to this blog many of the SOW National Team’s reflections. It was an absolute pleasure hosting them in Nablus the last four weeks. We will miss dearly their passion, energy and commitment to their work. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

4th of July: A Day of Service

In honor of the 4th of July, TYO staff, interns and volunteers headed to the neighborhood park for an afternoon of community service.  Serving our community in Nablus is just one of the ways that we at TYO pay tribute to this day of independence – honoring community, equality, human rights and opportunity for all.

On this 235th anniversary of American independence, we are reminded of the centuries old, rich and unique history of Palestine.  It is a history that reflects the extraordinary resilience of its people and the sense of community and family that we experience firsthand every day.

Today we take a moment to honor those around the world who continue to strive for freedom and human rights. We are committed by our common aspirations for a better world for tomorrow’s youth.

-Humaira
Humaira is the TYO Nablus Center Director.

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