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Colorado University Students Visit WASNS

Thursday 19 June 2014

June 16-17 2014: WASNS was pleased to host a group of students from Colorado University for a 2-day programme. The students were here as part of a course entitled “Justice, Human Rights, and Democracy in Israel and the West Bank”; a course run by the Jewish Studies department but open to applications from other majors (many of the students were studying International Relations). It is a 5-week course that combines academic study of the situation in Israel and the West Bank with volunteer work in locations such Jerusalem and Ramallah. The course was designed 2 years ago with WASNS in mind as a final stop on the tour, and they planned backwards from there. The hope and tranquility offered at WASNS made it a welcome final stop after the students had studied, visited, and volunteered in some difficult areas. This week the students learnt first hand the complexities on the ground when they could no longer attend their volunteering work in the West Bank as the current political situation prevents US citizens from travelling there.

The students arrived at WASNS on Monday and visited the swimming pool and the Doumia. Tuesday morning began with a talk and tour with village member Daoud Boulos. The students learnt a about the village and its institutions, the political history of the Latroun valley, and the volunteer and internship opportunities that WASNS offer, which some students were eager to follow up.

After the lecture and tour the students headed to the primary school. There they learnt a bit from the teachers about the working method of the school and its bilingual, binational format. The students were very interested in the school and some wished that they could volunteer here in the future. Then, under the heat of the midday sun, the students set to work on their current volunteering task. Under the guidance of school teacher Voltaire, who also made sure everyone always had enough water, the Colorado students collected new sand from one end of the playground to top up the sandpit at the other end of the playground. All the teachers that passed by were impressed with their energy and determination to get this work done in such heat. During break time some curious primary-schoolers gathered around the university students, and were more than happy to try out the English they knew with these visiting volunteers.

WASNS is grateful for the volunteer work the students did for the primary school while here, and looks forward to a visit from next year’s class.

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