After high school I took some months to travel to the Middle East and volunteered with Karama as well; it has been the best decision ever! It made me a lot more independent, more sure of myself and what I want in life (and what not). Traveling to Palestine made me feel I grew 8 years in life experience in just 8 weeks (and at the same time the kids made me believe I never really want to grow up.. ;))
When I met some of the children in the center for the first time, I knew it would be challenging task for me but also one that would give me so many opportunities to grow. I guess children all over the world have their challenges, but the kids in Palestine have to deal with a specific set of difficulties, that make their personal development not straight forward. It was a test for me to try to approach them in the best way, give them something of me and also think practically how to best get them engaged in the games I came up with. I was happy to use the resources available in the center and also the knowledge and support of the local staff. Watching and hearing from their experience and contact with the children, I obtained many new viewpoints.. Learning from them and see all the energy, feeling and dedication they put in their work, all together the experience made me realize child development / psychology is definitely something I would like to continue with!
I also tried to share some of my creativity by helping out with designing some leaflets and newsletters, as well as writing a report. For this I used the computers available in the center, which I could use by the way also for the personal things.. very helpful to stay in contact with people back home! Although I remember there was sometimes something wrong with either electricity/computers itself or the Internet, most of the time it was not a problem to stay in touch with my family and friends.
Together with the other volunteers I received some Arabic lessons, which was really nice to get an introduction in this difficult language. Also it was great to meet the young lady giving these classes and hear some stories about how she experiences life in the camp.
I made some trips organized by Karama and I also traveled some by myself in Palestine after my volunteering time. Both I can really recommend, though the best experience is when you can walk around in a city or holy place with a local, somebody who has a feeling for that place, it makes every thing much more interesting. I can recommend all to see as many things as possible with a local, they know the best places, nature, markets, mosques and monasteries!:)