I am Floor, a 23 year old girl from Belgium, and I am currently taking a master’s program in Developmental Studies in Brussels. In April 2011 I came to Palestine for the first time. I had been closely following the Palestinian situation for about 7 years and last year I had enough of only reading about it, I wanted to see and experience Palestine myself. I don’t remember how I landed on this subject, but once I got involved with Palestine, it didn’t let me go. This summer I wanted to come back, to get to know the people and the culture, to learn more about the situation and to understand what it means to live under occupation. Moreover, I hoped I could do something positive and constructive, in addition to expressing support to the Palestinian cause. My stay at Deheishe and volunteering with Karama outstripped my expectations and got me still more involved with the Palestinian cause. Since I am back in Belgium, I tell the story of Palestine, to those who are eager to hear it and to those that are not so eager at first, because I believe it should be told. I organized a Palestinian evening for friends and family and in the next months I will go to a school, a lawyer’s office, a volunteer organization for refugees and inshallah to more places to talk about Palestine. I tell people about the BDS campaign, because every single person can contribute to the Palestinian cause. Lastly, plans are being made to take a group of friends and family to Palestine, as many of them got interested and concerned.
Living in Deheishe
When trying to describe how I experienced living with a host family in Deheishe, I would say it is indescribable. I have written and rewritten my experiences, because so many things are worth saying. For one thing, the unconditional hospitality and warmth of the people I met. It is something that is rare in the society I grew up in. I only stayed for two months, but I didn’t feel like a guest, I felt at home thanks to my wonderful family. The way my mother took care of me when I was sick, how her brother wanted to make sure I was fine during a power cut at night when I was alone in the house (he immediately came to our house to check on me, fixed me candles and woke up his wife to keep me company), how they all made sure I would never be hungry (and they managed extremely well by the way, I put on several kilos) … They are one of a kind.