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Exchange Caritas Belgium-Jerusalem

Sunday 9th October 2011, 08:13 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

Finally I can share a piece of my experience from the exchange Caritas Belgium-Jerusalem I took part in. As some of you may now I joined Joka-Caritas when I was 16. Doing a little bit other stuff for the organisation then when I was younger, particularly due to being a working person, I got this chance to go on exchange to Jerusalem. After consulting Bronek, I took the decision to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This meant shorter holidays together, but Bronek was all the time on my mind, as you can see in some pictures.

The experience made a big impression on me, which is difficult to put in just some short text.

The situation between Israeli and Palestinian people struck me. The very strict control before entering the plane (better don’t mention you want to do voluntary work with Palestinians) gave me palpitations and shaky legs. “Security” controls of Israeli soldiers on Palestinian roads. The big high wall visible from many places (8 to 9 meters high, I can assure you, you only see the sky). Water-tanks on all roofs in case the Israeli people cut of water – which tend to do randomly for no apparent reason. And so on and on – it all leaves a mixed feeling.

We only had ten days and wanted to do and see a lot of stuff. We visited quickly Jerusalem, Ramallah, mausoleum of Arafat, Dead Sea, Bethlehem, many churches and many other small cities. We stayed with host families in Aboud where we did our first job (painting a multi-functional room of a church, where meetings and so on are held) and could experience the great hospitality of the Palestinian people. First day we arrived there we were even invited to a wedding. Next stop was in Bethlehem/Beit Jallah/Beit Sahour also called three-city (made me think of Gdańsk) where we cleaned a church bottom-up, almost completely.

This is in short my ten days exchange experience in Israel/Palestine. I am glad I can share it with you and would like to thank once again Caritas Belgium for the great opportunity!

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  1. Jolien
    Monday 10th October 2011, 10:32 AM at Monday 10th October 2011, 10:32 AM | #1

    Hanne (and the rest of the team who reads this),

    thank you for jumping into this adventure together with all of the Palestinian and Belgian people. I enjoyed it very much and it was a life-changing opportunity. There are a lot of times during a day that I think back about those 10 days! (and not only because of the good weather in Palestine)

    With love,

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