Intern Journal: Charades

Maha reaches into the bowl and picks up a single sheet of folded paper reading, “A fish / سمكة“. The two of us giggle as we look at each other, both wondering how she’ll act it out. After thinking it over for a couple of seconds, she acts out a swimming stroke and makes an adorable fish face, pursing her lips. The entire classroom jumps up and down, including my over enthusiastic volunteers, screaming out the answer and waving their hands in front of my face. I make the judgement call as to who guessed first and give the points accordingly.

My kids love charades. If I didn’t cut them off, I’m sure they would be satisfied with an entire class dedicated to charades alone! For the past two weeks, I have been using it as a simple warm-up activity for my Arts and Crafts class, and I’ve found that it’s one of few classroom games that consistently keeps all of my students engaged and excited throughout its entirety. It’s easy, it doesn’t require any supplies, there are no “outs”, there are no losers, and everyone gets a turn. But most importantly, it gives my kids a chance to express themselves creatively in front of their peers. Even the shy and more reserved students are eager to play and act, exhibiting brief moments of self-confidence that I rarely see in my classroom. 

Okay so who’s next?” I ask. “Me! Me! Ana! Ana!” the kids (and volunteers) shout gleefully. By the way they reacted to the game ending last week, I don’t think they’ll get tired of charades any time soon. Throughout the session, I will continue to encourage them to stand at the front of the class to act and share with their peers. I look forward to seeing their personalities flourish!

– Tala

Tala is a summer intern at TYO Nablus.

 

 

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.

Summertime for Triple Exposure!

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

As the summer winds down, we are taking a break from class to observe Ramadan (and to set everything in motion for the fall!). June and July were busy months — whether hiding from the heat by making a trip to the local mall to take photos, staying in the shade while making a mosaic, or using their cameras to show me their homes and families, the kids of Triple Exposure spent their summer holidays producing beautiful work, which I am now proud to show you.

Take a few minutes, sip a cool drink, and enjoy photos of Triple Exposure students putting their designs on city walls, capturing their lives and their city with their cameras, and generally having a rocking good time.

“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.

New Van helps TYO to unite Nablus

A generous donation from a philanthropist in Cairo funded the purchase of a new 19-passenger van for the Tomorrow’s Youth Organization center in Nablus! The van means a lot to TYO’s entire community, because they come to TYO from all over the city of Nablus and its refugee camps.

As a result of poverty, minimal public transportation infrastructure, and the safety risks of moving around the city, most Nabulsis with whom we work have never ventured beyond their immediate neighborhoods. Further, the large population of the three refugee camps within the city limits (about 1/3 of Nablus’s 120,000 people) is as isolated from residents of the ‘city’ of Nablus as those in the far-away city of Jerusalem.

TYO Van Stereotypes and mistrust flourish as a result of this lack of exposure to residents of Nablus’s other camps and neighborhoods. Indeed, on the first days of each TYO session, we see a variety of name-calling, teasing, and occasional physical conflict among the children who live in different areas of the city. Tensions have even flared between mothers from different neighborhoods in aerobics and computer classes.

But these quickly subside as the participants get to know each other. This spring, one family said: “Our children have formed new friendships across Balata/Askar lines” [two refugee camps located next to each other on the edge of Nablus].

This summer, for the first time, we have opened registration for some of the summer camps run by international interns to families from the city of Nablus who do not live in the five at-risk areas where most of our beneficiaries live. With the incentive of enjoying a high-quality educational and fun summer program, both children and parents have put aside their stereotypes about people they don’t usually associate with and we’ve seen barriers tumble. Summer intern Doris reports that some of the new participants from the city request to visit other classes at TYO, eager to join in on the movie-making, photo-taking fun with the participants from the camps and our other primary target areas.

On its pick-up route throughout the city, the new IVECO van helps TYO to invigorate and unite the city of Nablus, one family at a time!
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Intern Journal: Impossible to prepare

Now that the first two weeks of the summer session have ended, it’s time to breathe. We had two weeks of intensive preparation for what we would face as summer teachers here at TYO, but nothing could prepare me for what I faced. Nothing could prepare Kelsey when a young boy brought a knife to her class. Nothing could prepare me for having to defer kids from my class because they were too old and there was only so much chaos I could handle in a classroom with two volunteers. Nothing could have prepared us.

But more surprising than the chaos piercing your ears while kids play with the parachute on the bottom floor or while I watch Maggie surrounded by screaming children running and playing games around during every session of her Summer Camp class was the love that has pierced us interns.

It is the look of calm love as Maggie smiles when children scream around her. It is the way Kelsey walks her six to eight-year-olds in a single line, holding their hands, to the buses after a three-hour class, slowing down to match their slower pace. It is the way Adam tries to childproof everything in the building to protect the children, from putting foam around sharp corners and sandpaper on the marble stairs to slow the children down as they run up and down the stairs. It is the way Doris seems to notice every time one of her 15 or more students seems remotely bored, tired or sad and how she always addresses it immediately with concern.

We have fallen in love with the smiles of these children, and it’s entirely thanks to the people that have helped keep this beautiful organization running whether it is by coming to work or volunteer at TYO, mentioning it to a friend, donating to the website, or even sending a link to family members of the blog. So, thank you.

Faces of TYO Summer!

Thanks to our very talented Students of the World photographer, Annie, who has captured some of the very happiest moments of the first 5 days of Summer 2009 at TYO on film.

A few favorites are included below, but you can check them all out on her blog!