Each Thursday, we finish our regularly scheduled classes with a camp-wide Sports Day; a fun-filled afternoon of soccer, blob tag, games, laughter, sunny weather, relay races, and just overall exuberance. It’s great to see as my kids begin to leave behind their shyness and self-consciousness in favor of giddiness and a bit of a competitive spirit. This past week, one of my students even proceeded (with a great amount of animation and hand gestures) to break down the steps and rules of a certain game for me and many of her classmates.
When I think about my first day of class, when sixteen 8-10 year olds filed into my Arts and Crafts class and quietly took their seats with looks of mild apprehension, the contrast to our Thursday Sports Days is even more striking. That first class, I had expected chaos; I hadn’t prepared for the quiet.
After our initial icebreaker, I asked my students to think about how our class resembles a box of crayons. I didn’t get much of a response but I still hope I was able to get across my message about uniqueness and coming together to create something bigger and more beautiful than ourselves. We drew self-portraits and did our best to draw other things and people all the students love as well.
Across the board, there was one theme that was nearly ubiquitous in all my students’ drawings: a house. Whether it was shaped like a pyramid, filled with trees and flowers, or was slightly indecipherable, the idea of a physical home was prominently displayed and in some cases even overtook the other aspects of their portraits. In this moment, my appreciation for TYO’s work reached a whole new level. For many of my students, nothing in their lives has a sense of permanency, even their homes; everything is fluid. On our intern tour of the Old City, Chelsey, our internship coordinator, had stopped a few too many times to point out a building that had once stood at our very footsteps.
TYO provides not only a permanent physical space for kids to be kids but a larger community that is strong and pervasive. It’s an honor to be a part of this “house.”
Cate is a summer intern at TYO Nablus.
Filed under: intern journal, internship program, TYO impact Tagged: | arts and crafts, community development, early childhood education, intern abroad, internship program, nablus, Palestine, summer 2011, summer camp, TYO, west bank