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Sofia today

Sofia in its Majesty Photo credit: Strahil Vasilev

Sofia in its Majesty Photo credit: Strahil Vasilev

(First day back home after 2 months in Palestine)

I don’t know if it’s because I was in the Middle East for the past two months, so my perception is distorted, but I saw disproportionally many people hugging and kissing or both in Sofia today.

Needless to say, I’m very hopefull about the future of my Country Bulgaria : )

Spread this LOVE. please : ) The world needs it. We all do.

Sofia Photo Credit: Strahil Vasilev

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Don’t talk about Palestine

Jerusalem old city by Maggie Nazer

Jerusalem old city by Maggie Nazer

I have visited Jerusalem 6 times so far in the past 2 months: more than my Palestinian friends will be allowed to enter it in a lifetime.

For the first time so far the old city of Jerusalem was empty today. I walked alone and people stopped me and gave me gifts for simply being here.

It’s getting more and more dangerous and people are afraid to come. the danger is not only physical. It’s holistic. Your comfort is endangered. Your faith in humanity is endangered. Your ability to live life as you have before, to trust the news, respect your political leaders and rest in your ignorance are all endangered. Continue reading

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Last day at work: Happiness in Palestine.

Closing of training and English classes led by Maggie Nazer at Hebron YDRC, Palestine

Closing of training and English classes led by Maggie Nazer at Hebron YDRC, Palestine

Continue reading

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My 21st Birthday in Palestine

In second grade I invited my classmates and friends from school to celebrate my birthday. My mom and I cooked all day and prepared a one-of-a-kind home-made Barbie-like cake with a real doll inside. It was perfect.

When nobody came I stayed at our apartment’s balcony hoping that people are just late, crying. The only kid who showed up was a girl I used to go to kindergarden with whom I had randomly met and invited the previous day. This girl, Lina Stankova, soon became my best friend and has been a best friend in the true meaning of the word ever since.

As I grew up I stopped being excited for birthdays. I think it was just less painful than expecting much and getting dissapointed, especially on the day the world tells you should be your one “special day”. Continue reading

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I’m in Palestine. And now I’m afraid.

I left the United States two months ago with shaken trust in my fellow human beings. I came to Palestine to offer myself, my knowledge and my skills to the community, but I got much more than I had to give: I was healed.

Gas bomb thrown by soldiersIn the meantime as daily clashes became a routine and as I heard about killed day after day, I refused to protect myself and stop listening. I asked for more. I went to the streets to interview the people, I wrote their stories. Every night my friend Abdelrazzaq offered me his cigarettes and his endless stories, memories, visions for the future…

But after so much death… And still hearing the shootings, the firing of tear gas bombs; the impossibility to fall asleep; to talk or think about anything else…

I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that no hope is left for the humans who strive for revenge, for blood spilled as water.
I’m afraid that Our weapons are not as strong as theirs. That love, humanity and education are not as instantly penetrating the human mind and soul as are the rockets and bullets to the land, the buildings and the flesh.
I’m afraid that if someone is to tell me now that the human nature is evil I will not have the strenght to say: “No!”

[Please, kindly note that while it's my experience this story is not about me. I just hope that this post will make more people think about the present and future of Palestine and all other suffering countries around the world and that we can collectively educate each other and forward the request for change and use social medias for a better cause than liking each other's cute photos and full dishes! Thank you. Love, M. ]

Daily Clashes in Hebron

Daily Clashes in Hebron

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Gender in Bulgaria (summary)

Gender in Bulgaria at a glance- World Bank Report

Gender Pay GapI stumbled upon this super concise document produced by the World Bank in Bulgaria which takes a look at gender and the distribution of employment and education between the genders.

I’m not at all surprised with the findings that, indeed, there is gender balance in Bulgaria and while we have not yet had a woman President, women are somewhat well represented in Parliament (holding 25% of seats and making up for 19% of Ministers as of 2013). Continue reading

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You know what “Occupation” means, right? (A lesson from a failed educator! :P)

DSCF9517Today I led my first class of English for beginners at the Hebron YDRC.
The group for beginners will meet every Tuesday and Thursday and I was very excited to finally start teaching after spending last week correcting placement tests and preparing lesson plans :)

I had scheduled a program of diverse activities aiming to help my students develop all the skills necessary to confidently express themselves in English emphasizing on speaking which I have been told they have had the least exposure to.

As the group gathered we started with getting-to-know-each-other activities I had prepared. The first one, called “Name cards”, consists of participants writing their own “name cards” and then distributing them to others. The game allows learners to both get to know others and exercise introducing themselves in English.

As I explained the rules I asked them to write on their name cards three main things: name, age, and occupation. As they are beginners, I tried to simplify the vocabulary I used and in the heat of the moment I figured they might not understand the word “occupation”.

“You know what “Occupation” means, right?”- I asked. They looked at me bluntly.
“It refers to what you do: whether you study, or work…”
“Occupation” has two meanings”- this smart guy pointed out and in that moment I realized how inappropriate my choice of words has been unexpectedly…

Occupation has two meanings. Sure they know it.

I excused myself and the class moved on with new games, exercises and laughs, and, presumably, no more mortifying mistakes on my part.
And while there wasn’t much I could do to prevent my unconscious vocabulary misjudgment, it was a great call to be mindful of the environment and not to forget that we are all students and teachers to each other! Inshalla!

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