Intern Journal: Percussive Plastic Plates…TYO style

I’ve just sent my music students bounding home with their newly fashioned “music shakers”…I fully expect to incur the wrath of their parents sometime in the next two days.  Call them what you will—maracas, plastic plate tambourines, or handheld shakers—whatever the nomenclature, Monday’s class activity yielded twelve beautifully decorated agents of NOISE.  Plastic plates (strangely, paper plates are quite the rarity here in Nablus), popcorn kernels, a stapler, scissors, and some colorful construction paper and streamers are all it took to generate an entire symphonic section of percussive instruments.  As we constructed and festooned our instruments we jammed out to an eclectic, world music mix, which featured everything from Fairouz and Nancy Ajram to the Beatles and the Gypsy Kings.  Although Nancy Ajram was the crowd favorite—the girls knew every single word of “Ana Yalli Bahebbak” by heart— “Octopus’s Garden” inspired some enthusiastic head nods in time to the beat as well as a brief explanation of the timelessness of the British sixties pop sensation.

Amazingly, there was only one maracas fiasco this afternoon: two improperly fastened plates, one overzealous shake, and the resulting shower of corn kernels sent us all into hysterics and laughter to the point of tears.   During the last ten minutes of class, and post-kernel cleanup, students used their latest creations to play the two bar rhythm written on the whiteboard.  Yes, that’s right, my students can now read and clap to (or shake a tambourine to) rhythm.  We’ve covered all the basics: quarter, half, and whole notes and rests; treble and bass clefs, measures and 4/4 time.  Needless to say I’m so proud of the youth’s music literacy progress over these past few weeks, but they are especially deserving of praise today given that there was a hiatus from class all of last week.

Hoping my students will afford their parents a few moments of peace,


Leila is an intern at TYO Nablus.

Intern Journal: Maloukhieh and M’jedderah and Maqloubeh—Oh my!

I confess: having the women in my computer literacy class create a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation on their most prized Arabic recipes was more than just an exercise in PowerPoint acquisition skills.   Maqloubeh, Mouloukhieh, M’jedderah—all my favorite Middle Eastern dishes coincidentally begin with the letter “m,” often making it impossible for me to distinguish between each one—are just a few of the Arabic meals that have rendered my stomach joyful these past few months in the Middle East.  So, at the start of Tuesday’s computer class I found myself in an auspicious position.  I wanted to learn more about the savory Palestinian dishes that I’ve grown to adore.  For which traditional occasions are these dishes usually cooked? Which ingredients will I need to acquire when I attempt to cook musakhan for family and friends back home? Etc.   What I did not count on, however, was a dozen lunch and dinner invitations by the end of class.  As the women shuffled out of class that morning, each one extended a gracious “Ahlan wa Sahlan” to their homes: “I’ll make you the best maloukhieh you have ever tasted!” and “Come over today after class, drink tea at my home, meet the family, and tell me what you think of my m’jedderah.”

This past Saturday marked the first of what I hope will be many more house visits with community members.  Hanin, the outstanding translator in my computer and fitness classes, invited both Mathilda and me to her home Saturday evening to meet her husband, two sons, and daughter Nadia.  Over meat and cheese-stuffed pastries, sage tea, and Nescafe cake (yes, you read correctly, Nescafe cake…it’s delicious), Hanin shared with us her Palestinian narrative:  she told stories of love and loss, frustration and hope; yes, she and her husband relished the chance to bestow upon us some of that unwavering Palestinian humor—Qaddafi’s peculiar fashion sense was the source of a good laugh or two.   We also learned how connected Hanin and her husband felt to their homeland: given her mastery of the English language and her experience as a translator, she had been offered the opportunity to immigrate to Canada on more than one occasion; each time she resolutely refused, citing her unwillingness to break from her Palestinian roots.

As we realized that three hours had flown by and that the late hour alone beckoned for our return to the TYO Center, we said goodbye to our new friends, toting some Nescafe cake and other goodies for the road and promising Nadia that we would return again soon for some more cross-cultural “girl talk.”

Here’s to many more encounters with delicious Palestinian cuisine in the coming weeks!

– Leila

Leila is an intern at TYO Nablus.

Guest photographer visits photography class

Visit the post by TYO Intern Adrienne on the Triple Exposure website:

Hassan and photo student Ameer discuss the beauty of photographs taken at sunset

As an American intern teaching the Beginning Photography class at TYO this semester, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the 20 boys and girls in my class and having the chance to expose them to the joys of digital photography. It’s been a great experience because the kids, ordinarily loud and crazy, become instantly focused when handed a camera to work with.

In order to show them that photography can become a life-long hobby or even a useful job skill, we invited a professional photographer from the local community to come and speak to our class. Hassan Qamhia (, a professor at An-Najah University in Nablus and a budding professional photographer, visited us on Monday, November 29, and entertained the students with a slideshow of his beautiful photos taken around Nablus.

He also gave the kids some hands-on photography lessons. Everyone present greatly enjoyed Hassan’s presentation and gave him a resounding “Shukran” (thank you) at the end of class!

The photo class thanks Hassan for his visit!

— Adrienne

Adrienne (pictured second from right above) is an intern with Tomorrow’s Youth Organization. Originally from Ithaca, New York, she teaches the basic photography class with Triple Exposure.

“Triple Exposure” is a TYO initiative that aims to develop identity, awareness, and vocational skills among children and adolescents through teaching photographic expression and the production of public art.

Mosaic Mania!

Check out the new post by Project Coordinator Doris on the Triple Exposure website:

Triple Exposure mural students have truly stunned us with the beauty and originality of the mosaic murals which are now complete! The first mural, titled “Representations of Palestine” by the students, features olive trees, flowers, and butterflies to celebrate the beauty of the landscape around Nablus. This mural overlooks the TYO parking lot and thus brightens the day…

Our third mural, located on a central street in Nablus

“Triple Exposure” is a TYO initiative that aims to develop identity, awareness, and vocational skills among children and adolescents through teaching photographic expression and the production of public art.

Nabulsi Cinema: Now Playing on the Triple Exposure website

Check out the latest post by Project Coordinator Doris on the Triple Exposure website:

Explore the origins of what I’m sure will soon be a burgeoning film industry in Nablus: the short films made by Triple Exposure students! See the work written, acted, animated, filmed, and edited by Taha, Mahmoud, Hiba, Suzan, Hanadi, Mohammed, Mumin, Yaseen, Hala, Mujahed — the list goes ever on. Characters range from a Palestinian police officer to a young boy with big dreams to a young girl who unexpectedly finds herself on a magical journey!

The kids have developed their skills in set design, framing, and composition in the photography and mural classes, allowing us to now focus much more on films this fall. So stay tuned for new releases!

Volunteer Masa and photo/film student Shireen prepare for filming

“Triple Exposure” is a TYO initiative that aims to develop identity, awareness, and vocational skills among children and adolescents through teaching photographic expression and the production of public art.

Triple Exposure mural in the city!

Triple Exposure mural students are in the midst of work on our THIRD mural! This mosaic mural will be in the heart of the city — visit the project website to see photos.

TYO is participating in GlobalGiving’s Global Open, can you help us win up to $6,000 in prize money?!

From March 25 – April 26, 2010, TYO is competing to earn a spot on the GlobalGiving website, and earn up to US $6,000 from Global Giving by being one of the top fundraisers in the ‘Global Open’ Challenge. The organization with the greatest number of individual donations will win $3,000, and a separate $3,000 prize will go to the project, which raises the most money. The second and third place runners up for both achievements will get $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. In order to keep our project on GlobalGiving longer term, and use their website for ongoing fundraising, we need to raise a minimum of US $4,000 from at least 50 unique donors during the Challenge.

Please visit our project page and keep an eye on the leaderboard to see how we are stacking up!

This spring our GlobalGiving project supports our International Internship Program! International Community Development Interns lead enriching programs for children, youth and adults from refugee camps and other marginalized areas of Nablus. Each intern develops and implement their own creative, 3-month program, acts as important role model for over 1,000 community members, documents participants’ learning and development, and takes part in valuable intercultural cooperation. In October 2009, after two successful summer internship programs, TYO added fall and spring internship opportunities to its program. The International Internship Program is an essential part of TYO’s work. International interns make it possible for us to double the amount of classes we can offer the community of Nablus. Additionally, interns gain powerful and invaluable insights into the worlds of teaching, education and Nablus. We help us to continue this important program by supporting our project on Global Giving now.

You can help us raise money, earn a spot for our projects on GlobalGiving longer term and earn GlobalGiving prize money by spreading the word!

1) Pass along this blog post to your friends and families and ask them to tell others.

2) If you are planning to make a donation this year to TYO please do so by going to our project on GlobalGiving.

Again our sincere thanks for your support and commitment to TYO and our work!


The TYO Team