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DannyWhatmough.com
          
            
                   
21st October, 2012

Now that I have been here a couple of days, it is perhaps time to explain a little bit about the organisations I am working with.

I’m working for an organisation called Music Harvest. Their aim is to contribute to the cultural revival of Nablus and, in doing so, to also further dialogue and mutual understanding between internationals and Palestinians.

It started in 2010 with a mission to make use of musical instruments that had been donated to the city of Nablus. However, it was felt that individual instrumental tuition was not successful in reaching enough people in Nablus, therefore the focus of the teaching now is to provide introductory music lessons to as many as possible.

nablus

Nablus


Having worked with a number of organisations in the past, Music Harvest is now partnered with a Nablus-based NGO called Project Hope. It is the largest volunteering organisation in the West Bank and has been running since 2003. Project Hope provides lessons to local adults and children in English, French, Graphic Novels and Computer Literacy.

Project Hope works with over 40 centres in and around Nablus – including small villages and refugee camps. There is also Project Hope’s own centre in Nablus where some classes are held, but the focus is on going out and teaching students in their own local environment.

To maximise effectiveness, the small staff at Project Hope is augmented by local and international volunteers. The former work alongside the international visitors at both Project Hope and Music Harvest, acting as guides and translators.

Project Hope

Just opposite the Project Hope office is a house where the international volunteers stay. Spread across two floors, there are currently around 18 of us here spanning numerous different nationalities.

Entrance to the house

The house – my room is the one with the open window

The crowning glory of the flat is a balcony that overlooks the city with a brilliant view and it is where everyone congregates each evening to eat together.

The view

The rest of the flat is basic but more than adequate, with two bathrooms, a kitchen and three beds in each room. There is also WIFI and hot water.

My first class was yesterday in a village called Balata. Originally it was situated outside Nablus but the city has grown so quickly in the last few years that it is now just part of the urban sprawl.

The other volunteers had warned me that the kids from the village can be quite badly behaved, but they were actually more or less what you would expect from a group of 8 to 10 year olds. I kept the lesson fairly basic – lots of clapping rhythms and repeating musical phrases, ending with a game of musical chairs! I go back tomorrow for the second lesson…

Man walking just outside our house


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