This blog should've been written about a month ago. Before I left Edmonton, my friend had got me in contact with her cousin who worked at the refugee camp at the Jordan. We had been in Jordan enjoying our time for about six days and on the seventh day we had a chance to volunteer at one of the Palestinian refugee camps.
For some reason I had imagined that the refugee camps would be rows on rows of tents. Although there weren't any tents in this particular camp there were a bunch of small, shanty, broken down homes. We arrived at the camp and went to this building that was equivalent to our Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. My mother and I went into one room, which was full of 8 year olds and my sister went into a Junior high classroom to teach English. My students were so eager and happy to learn whatever I told them. I taught them to write "my favourite color is..." and although it was really nothing special it was awesome to see these kids try their best to speak another language. They did quite well.
After the teaching session was done I went and talked to the people running the place. They were all volunteers who were all educated and young individuals who wanted to make a difference in these kids lives. A lot of the supplies they use at the building are bought by these volunteers with their own money.
We went on a tour of the refugee camp with some of the volunteers and the kids, which was a blast but I would soon learn how real the Palestinian issue was even though we were in Jordan. I asked our tour guide if the Palestinians are allowed to leave the camp and buy land and he said yes of course. He then continued to say there are many successful individuals in the camp, there are lawyers, doctors, and engineers but they refuse to leave the camps until Palestine is free and they can return back to their homeland. There are about five camps in Jordan and every camp represents an area in Palestine, which I thought was pretty cool. Moreover, as I was taking pictures of the camp, our tour guide said to me I need to stop taking pictures. A man pulled up in a car and asked who I was and why I was taking pictures. At that moment I realized the paranoia that lies in the camp, there is a fear that they are being spied on or that I could've been an informant. I respected their wishes and put down my camera.
The kids of this camp will always be in my heart. They were full of life in a place that seems lifeless. They were so worried that we thought their camp was not aesthetically pretty, we kept reassuring them it was. I've never felt more welcomed in a place. I can't wait to go back and see them again!
Thank you for reading my blog xo.