My name is Lilly McKenzie, and in July and August 2019 I completed the Media in Palestine Program in Hebron with Go Palestine. I'm from Australia, but have spent the last year on a Journalism exchange in Europe. I've always been interested in the occupation, and want to pursue a career as a foreign correspondent covering humanitarian crises. The chance to experience a taste of life in Hebron, and learn about journalism in Palestine was a dream come true.
Coming to Hebron, I had no clue what to expect from the city, but it was more than I could've ever imagined. Go Palestine placed me with a host family in nearby Halhul, and they welcomed me into their family with open arms. Every morning I would come to Go Palestine at 10, and have breakfast with the other volunteers before the day's activities.
The daily schedule varied day-by-day, including meeting with journalists, local NGOs, activists, and grassroots organisations, as well as exploring the city of Hebron with local volunteer guides. Of course the week is never complete without Arabic lessons, and teaching classes. I was lucky enough to teach basic media and journalism skills to both High School and University students. Working among local volunteers, most of whom are university students themselves, it's easy to get a feel for the Palestinian culture. People take great pride in hospitality, and just walking down the street, you will be welcomed to the city by shopkeepers. Everyone will try to feed you, give you tea, coffee, and juice, eager to take care of you.
Walking through Hebron, you can almost forget that you're living in occupied territory, save for some closed streets and empty guard towers. Shopping eating, and just hanging out in Hebron, you feel safe and welcomed everywhere, no matter the time of day or night.
This program has been amazing, and I have made many lifelong friends, and shared fantastic experiences. I hope to come back in the future, Inshallah!