Making a difference!
Internship in the Holy Land
I went to Israel, Palestine for my 3 months internship for my medical study. But it is not the internships or what I did that I remember most. It is the hospitality that I received from my Christian host family in Beit-Jala, close to Bethlehem. It is the feeling that I remember when you walk on the street; yellow black cabs honking to ask if you want a ride; the smell of grilled chicken and the little talks with the shopkeeper or people on the street. I felt really welcomed and relaxed, something I think is amazing considering the stressful situation that these people live in.
For example, for me as a foreigner it was easier to travel around the country than for my Palestinian host family. The presence of the wall separating Bethlehem and Beit-Jala from Jerusalem (put there by the Israeli government during the second intifada) is a constant reminder of the conflict. After three months living on “the other side of the wall”, you develop a certain sympathy for the people who live there. I think the same would have happened if I had been living in Israel in an area where rockets landed from out of Gaza.
This thought made me realize how conflicts like this are caused by fear for each other and the lack of contact between two nations. That’s why I think we should talk with a certain prudence about what is happening in the holy land. Among my fellow Christians I sometimes hear a oversimplified story about what’s going on and what should be done. It is not that easy. And above all, let’s not forget our Christian brothers and sisters living on both sides on the wall. I think because of them, there is hope.
I worked for two organizations:
1. Caritas Baby hospital in Bethlehem, founded by a Catholic Priest. This hospital provides the most high quality child care in the area against affordable costs through of international aid.
Go to : Caritas Baby Hospital
2. Stichting Jemima, this Dutch Christian organization was founded by a Dutch couple who started caring for the handicapped and disabled Palestinian children who were ignored by to society. I would really recommend this organization, which does a great job in showing love and compassion. Financial help or practical help is always welcome.
Check their site: Jemima.nl
If you want to go there, let me know. I would love to bring you in contact with some great Palestinian hospitality!
I have also produced a pdf document with more pictures telling the story of my experiences in “The Holy Land,” – you can view on-line, downoad or print it. Enjoy!