The following story about a workshop day in Qalqiliyah area is written by Sylvia, a wonderful volunteer that spent one month with MwB in Palestine. She joined us during the music workshops, taught guitar to some of the trainees and helped us where ever needed!
A hired car with blazing airco; Fabienne is driving us to Qalqilyah while Seereen, one of the trainees, is trying to understand and passes on the instructions given to her through the phone. “Go straight!” seems to be the main message, though this is hardly possible with hills making the roads twist and turn, roadblocks abruptly ending highways, roundabouts and bifurcations forcing us to pick our choice. After quite a detour we finally arrive where we want to be: just outside Qalqilya, the road takes us to a gated building, children pouring out on the street to see us arriving.
The older boys laugh and scream; Amira (the other trainee with us today) is a bit intimidated and says to Fabienne: “You take that group first, we’ll work with the younger group!” “No, let Sylvia take the older group and us the younger one” Fabienne jokes! But before I can get scared of this prospect, I am distracted by everything around me.
The children in the younger group are curious but also shy and waiting in anticipation. But before we can go to them, we have to drink coffee and eat a cake. This, apparently, is far more important than releiving the children from their exitement, so we have to abide to the customs.
Then we can enter the rooms. The older boys are in one, the younger children (boys and girls) are in another room. These are all children who have been abused or neglected; they are in good care now but they are mentally deeply scarred.
The music activities prooved to be a great outlet for them. First I went with Seereen and Amira to the younger children. It took a while to gain their trust and full participation, but after a while even the boy who at first stayed outsid the door watching us joined in clapping and ticking with the sticks. The older boys were totally different. They were active, excited, wanted to do everything at once. To Amira’s surprise their enthusiasm made it a very nice and exiting experience to work with them.
After a lot of games, singing, and laughing with all the children we had to say goodbye, and they followed us outside to the care to wave us goodbye. “I love you! We will miss you, bye!” the boys shouted after us. The small girls waved, kissed us and shook our hands, and off we went on a confusing trip back home to Bethlehem, trying our best to keep straight.