When I met Ayman, I could see from the way he spoke about what it means to live in Hebron that he was a man of vision, honestly dedicated to the cause of his people. I had the privilege of working with him for three months, beginning to help kids from the ages of 6 to 9 with their English curriculum studies, helping adult students at the Aldea Centre to improve their conversational English and growing the reputation of the Hebron Hope Center. I also had the honour of experiencing his family’s kind hospitality, and spending time with them while helping with chores and relaxing. By the time I left, it was wonderful to see that small progress had been made and that plans were laid for it to continue to develop into a community center, which would begin to offer more focused services to benefit the local people of Tariq ben Ziad. I wish Ayman and his team all the best for the future.
No experience in Palestine could be devoid of challenge, though; to be so close to the daily injustices faced by the people of Hebron and Tariq ben-Ziad in particular was trying, and the inevitable differences in culture required that I learn with respect and adjust accordingly. Naturally, in an environment like this, I was blessed to meet the bravest and most inspiring people, who were deeply invested in Hebron and learning what standing in solidarity truly means. I am grateful for everything I have learned from my experience with the Hebron Hope Center, and I am certain that any future volunteers will find equal value in theirs.