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Kalimatna Initiative

TYO_TEST

Representing TYO in Kenya

Last week, I participated in the Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF) Evaluation Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference, hosted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC), brought together YSF grantees from across the global for three days of discussion and evaluation regarding the successes and challenges stirred up by our projects. The initiatives designed and implemented by YSF grantees addressed an impressive range of community needs including interfaith dialogue, civic engagement, health awareness and youth leadership training. I represented the Kalimatna Initiative (Arabic: Our Words), a 2010 project of TYO funded by YSF that brought together teams of American and Continue reading…

TYO_TEST

We Are All Alike, We Are All Different

Seven North American interns have recently taken the TYO Center by storm. Our passion: to bring uninhibited joy and confidence to the precious children of Nablus. Our struggle: to do so with the broken bits of Arabic vocabulary we possess. The beauty of it all: 1) the smiling faces of the little boys and girls who come sprinting through the TYO entrance with such eagerness; 2) the international and local staff, translators and volunteers who support our sentiments – extending a hand to help in any way they can, whenever they can; 3) the thought of what a transformative experience Continue reading…

TYO_TEST

The Kalimatna Initiative Presents “This is Nablus!”

Over the course of 2010, seven American and three Palestinian youth worked together to document the city of Nablus through photography and videos of the people, places and things that make it special. The following  multimedia presentation is the final result of the Kalimatna project. Check out “This is Nablus!” on Prezi!   The Kalimatna Initiative, meaning “our words” in Arabic, is a youth-led cultural diplomacy project whose goal is to introduce the culture of Nablus, Palestine, to the world. Related posts:Introductions: New Interns!Photo of the Day: We love Kanafa!Humans of Nablus 16

TYO_TEST

Intern Journal: Evidence of a heated rivalry

There is a fault line that runs through the city of Nablus, dividing friend from friend, brother from brother, parent from child, and neighbor from neighbor.  What could be this controversial issue that has its iron grip on an entire city, you ask?  It is a universal phenomenon capable of arousing passions and igniting tensions around the globe: soccer! The evidence of a heated rivalry, which is on the tip of everyone’s tongue in Nablus, is woven into the fabric of the city itself.  “Real Madrid!” proclaims a piece of graffiti on a wall between the Old City and the Continue reading…

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Scenes of Nabulsi life through doors and signs

I have been through the Old City of Nablus a handful of times in the past few weeks, and each time I find myself awash in a wild mix of colors, textures, smells, and sounds.  Once I enter the marketplace, I usually end up weaving my way, wide-eyed and awestruck, through its maze of clothing shops, vegetable stalls, and bakeries until I tumble out from its dusty alleyways back into a sunlit city square.  For the mere sake of processing the sensory information that barrages me each time I visit the Old City, I was glad to be imbued with Continue reading…

TYO_TEST

Kalimatna: The Palestinian Disabled Union

I walked in from the noise and heat of the street to the shaded and cool office not a minute too soon, as I’d speed-walked from TYO to the city center in record time.  I was immediately greeted by a lovely girl sitting at the front desk and the director of the organization who was seated across the desk.  We had met a few days beforehand and he warmly extended a hand to me in welcome. Haya was already there and taking photos of two men who were flipping through profiles of the Union’s members, looking for candidates for the Continue reading…

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Kalimatna: Arabic to Arabic Translation

I started studying Arabic during my sophomore year of college six years ago.  Arabic is a very difficult language even for the most gifted language-learner, and given the fact that I am not a gifted language-learner, I think I’ve come a long way.  I spent last year in Jordan reading and studying a variety of classical Arabic texts, which ranged from pre-Islamic poetry to Quranic exegesis.  Sounds pretty impressive, right? Given the high level of my reading abilities, you might assume that I can speak and understand Arabic with equal facility.  Unfortunately for me (and for the vast majority of Continue reading…

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Balata Refugee Camp: fieldnotes and reflections

Last Saturday my friends and Kalimatna partners Mary and Khamees met with the director of the Yafa Cultural Center, which offers programming similar to TYO for children and youth in Balata refugee camp. Since almost half of the kids in my art and storytelling class come from Balata, I tagged along. After the director’s introduction to the Center’s activities, two young men took us on a tour of the camp. Balata is 1 square kilometer, with more than 20,000 inhabitants. It is the smallest camp in the West Bank in land size, but with the largest population. Like so many Continue reading…

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Hiking the Abraham’s Path

“Rah amoot! I will die!” I announced to Khamees, who was standing next to me under the shade of an olive tree. “We will all die! For sure!” Khamees replied laughing, a playful look of fear crossing his face as he pointed to the path ahead. The noonday sun beat down unrelenting. A dead baby goat’s decaying body lay by the side of the road. “What have we gotten ourselves into?” I wondered, a drop of sweat trickling down my back. Last weekend, the intrepid members of the Kalimatna Initiative set off in the midst of sweltering heat on a Continue reading…

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Meet Haya!

This week the members of Kalimatna Initiative completed our first set of interviews.  In addition to wandering around the Old City and An-Najah University talking to falafel sellers and bookstore owners, we interviewed each other!  To learn more about our wonderful team member Haya, read Bieta’s interview with her: Where are you from? I am from Jaffa.  We are refugees here and we live in Nablus. I am Palestinian with a Jordanian passport. How many brothers and sisters do you have? I have five sisters and no brothers, unfortunately.  It’s unfortunate that I have no brothers, not unfortunate that I Continue reading…