Current live-in volunteers:
Dan (Tartu, Estonia)
“I found out about Al Aqaba via Couchsurfing, and just asking around about volunteering in Palestine! Seemed like an awesome and genuine opportunity and I have not been disappointed! After being here for about 3 weeks I can say that this was easily the best decision I made in a while – the caring and hospitable people, awesome kids and the beautiful Al Aqaba village itself…golden! And the delicious food….love me some makloubeh :)!”
Maurice Jacobsen (USA)
Maurice is an independent filmmaker/producer. His newest project is called Facing Al Aqaba, which will be a traveling exhibit of the faces that make up the community. Maurice says “The people of Al Aqaba should not feel they are isolated and alone.”
Read more of Maurice’s reports here.
Past live-in volunteers:
Morgan (Seattle, USA)
Hi I’m Morgan, and I volunteered in Al Aqaba for eight months, teaching English then setting up the Guest House and visitor program. My favorite thing to do in Al Aqaba is drink tea with the neighbors and watch the sun set, and my favorite thing to do at the Guest House is project movies on the living room wall. And squeegee the bathroom floor.
I’m currently back in the States, but still coordinating visitors and projects and maintaining this blog. Hoping to return to Palestine soon!
Elaine (Guangzhou, China)
“I’m so much more than just a teacher. My first time here was as a visitor. I spent two days with kids and took a lot of photos of them, and also had a great conversation with the mayor Haj Sami. Then, I decided to come back. And I did. The smile on kids’ faces and the kindness from the mayor and villagers brought me back here.
There are challenges: for me, to be a first time teacher and to teach kids from the culture that is very different from mine own, both are not easy. Therefore, I am not just teaching, but also learning. I learn how to interact with children, how to cooperate with the people from a different culture background, and how to understand the situation of this village, which is under demolition orders. I’m so much more than just a teacher. I’m part of Al Aqaba village, and this place if part of my life now.”
Janice (Wagga Wagga, Australia)
My name is Janice, and I’m from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. I spent two months in Al Aqaba, making a cookbook of local recipes with the women in the village. My favorite thing to do in Al Aqaba was to go around the village and meet with people, and my favorite thing to do in the guest house was to cook!
Ian (Portland, USA)
My name is Ian, I was in Al Aqaba for two months teaching English to the kindergarteners, high schoolers and adults. My favorite thing to do in Al Aqaba was drink tea with the families in the village and my favorite thing to do in the Guest House was eat food that Janice makes, and stream episodes of The Wire.
Hana (London, England) and Kat (Melbourne, Australia)
We’re both interior architects in Melbourne, and we spent one month doing volunteer design work in Ramallah and Al Aqaba. In Al Aqaba we designed a cheese factory, shop and cafe for the villagers and guests to use. Our favorite thing to do in the guest house is plan how to adopt the kitten we were just offered and turn it into a guest house mascot named Janice (who loves cats ;).
Kali (Santa Cruz, California)
Kali was Al Aqaba’s first long-term volunteer. She lived in the village for a month in 2011 and taught English for a summer program. She also helped out with the Rebuilding Alliance Building Charette, which brought a group of 20 in to plan for Al Aqaba’s new homes. Kali also visited Palestine and Al Aqaba in summer 2012 as an Anthropologist conducting a study on Material Semiotics.
Gila is a regular volunteer in Al Aqaba, coming up to bring new visitors, support various projects like the local sewing cooperative, and to help Haj Sami and the guest house with media and outreach. Most recently she has coordinated a poster project featuring the kindergarteners of Al Aqaba, to show their faces in the event of a military incursion. She is a dear friend of the village and an invaluable resource as a Hebrew-English translator and a passionate advocate for peace and justice.