Ala’a, Sociology and Antropology in Haifa
I started to volunteer at an elderly citizens' home in Tayibe, which is my hometown and where I was born and raised. Although I had a chance to interact with people through my past volunteering, this experience is such an extraordinary one. I had managed with Sewar -the responsible of the house- to accompany the elders through workshops of music and storytelling, alongside with talk sessions about them. Reading stories, listening to music, making food, reading newspaper, watching movies, raising social subjects to discuss, are all activities that I have with the elders.
The elders’ age has made the process much more interesting, because no matter how educated I might be as a person, there is yet so much to learn from them. Before I started volunteering there, I was afraid that we -as young men and women- no longer have an access to the higher wisdom of the people that came before us, because the academy world rarely recognizes life wisdom. Academic studies can make people really intelligent and have tools to understand their realties, but still lack wisdom. Ofcourse I don’t underestimate the importance of academic studies, but I felt that it had to go alongside with human service, which allows you for example to learn about the oral history of Palestine/Israel as narrated by our grandfathers and grandmothers, who still have this ability to love and be compassionate, despite all the hatred we are surrounded by sometimes. The elders have accepted me and welcomed me most enthusiastically with their pure hearts, they kept telling me ‘thank you’ for the service I have given, and when I saw such impression I felt home. I really felt home. They have taught me how to find the beauty in the ugliest things, the good in the worst and how to recognize truth away from falsehood. So, the volunteering actually gave me a deep sense of reality that accompanied and completed my knowledge that I acquired at the university; I saw human beings at their best: creating, talking, interacting and helping one another as a family. And so, I am thankful for the Friends of Nazareth family members who have introduced me -since I started studying- to the volunteering work and human service. For that I shall be thankful my entire life. I also wish that my fellow female students are doing well. Thank you again.